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Few fillies get the opportunity to win the same Oaks in consecutive years

July hopeful Witchcraft – bids for the Oaks double

Few fillies get the opportunity to win the same Oaks in consecutive years. Sean Tarry’s Witchcraft gets her chance to carve out her own piece of history when she lines up in the R300 000 Gr3 Track & Ball Oaks at Scottsville on Sunday.

As in the case of the local Derby, the KZN Oaks was opened to all ages for the first time in 2014, when it was run over an extra 100m at Clairwood. It was won by Dylan’s Promise that year.

Flashback to Clairwood in 2014 – Alesh Naidoo and supporters with Dylan’s Promise (Anton Marcus)

From 2015 the distance was reduced again to the more traditional 2400m and it switched home bases to Scottsville.

It was downgraded in status in 2016 and won by Witchcraft as a 3yo. The daughter of Kahal has been declared in steels for Sunday, when she goes for the rare double – and a bid to book her July place.


The Centenary – improved last time

The Centenary has drawn wide out but caught the eye with a smart effort in the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 at her last start.

That was achieved with a variation of race tactics and this gutsy mare would win this on her best form.

The lightly raced 4yo Girl On The Run is languishing in the July wilderness and would need to win this to catch the attention of the big race panel. The daughter of Silvano ran a great second in the Gerald Rosenberg Stakes last time when beaten under a half length by Polyphonic.

The Woodruff stable elect, Zante was just under 2 lengths behind her there and this daughter of Ideal World runs over her best trip on Sunday. She must rank as a serious contender for top honours.

Epona – can improve on her Woolavington effort

Patchit Up Baby returns to her original home base and looks to improve on her 4,75 length fifth behind Witchcraft last year. She should turn the tables on Silver Stripe from their Spook Express clash and is very capable of holding her own.

The quality stayer Zafira was reported not striding out after the Spook Express but had some fair form prior to that.

Joey Ramsden’s Epona was slightly below par in the Woolavington last time when going handy from a middle outer draw. She faded t0 4,60 lengths off Lady Of The House and can make amends here.

Persian Rug pulled the pole position draw but has been disappointing – besides being well held by Epona.

The Cape Listed Winter Oaks winner Francia has had one KZN outing this season – a fair effort behind last Saturday winner Louisiana.

Francia – represents value

The daughter of Dynasty is very game and has a win to her credit over Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winning stablemate Captain Splendid, who runs in the Derby. She looks the value shrewdie.

Royal Utopia has her first run in KZN and comes in fresh off a decent third behind Wind Chill in the SA Oaks. Respiratory noises at her last four starts are a negative factor.

The Marshall stable has had no luck with the barrier gates and Adorada has pulled a terrible draw. She has modest recent form and has not won a race for a year.

Estimation has ordinary recent form.

Balalaika ran third beaten just under 2 lengths by Silver Stripe in the Listed Spook Express and with a 3kg weight pull is sure to reverse the tables with the Woodruff runner – but cannot be tipped as a likely winner at these weights.

Silver Stripe – massive task

The Listed Spook Express winner Silver Stripe was beaten a length in receipt of 3kgs from Epona in the East Coast Cup. With a 6kgs weight swing against her, she looks well and truly outpointed here.

Silver Willow has drawn wide but should strip fit after three fair runs in KZN.  She ran only 3 lengths off Epona at level weights in the Jamaica Handicap early in January and looks to have scope for further progress.

The nicely bred Forbidden Duel is struggling to register her third win and looks a place prospect at best.

Girl On The Run has everything to play for and looks a massive runner. She needs to hold the likes of Zante, Epona and The Centenary – with the Snaith’s dark horse Francia not one to take lightly.

The possibility of an upset is there – so if the budget permits, go wide!

Note – Quartet Maxipoool|- Race 9 @ 16h35 – Estimated Pool R300 000

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