The Cape winter sunshine formed a perfect backdrop to a competitive Saturday of racing at Kenilworth, where results mostly played ball with punters.
Only eighteen days into his new contract as retained jockey to the powerful Ridgemont Highlands team, Anton Marcus was quickly into his stride for his new connections with an impressive icebreaker debutante in the second.
The Highlands-bred Dynasty filly Front And Centre, a half-sister to Highlands’ Singspiel stallion Potala Palace, races in the interests of Craig & Ross Kieswetter and Ridgemont Highlands, and made an impressive first impression when she bounded clear in the Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over the 1200m.
The R300 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate – easy to back at 11 to 1 – won in a time of 74.07 secs to beat the strongly fancied and highly vaunted Snaith runner Juniper Spring, who had two runs under the belt and started at 5-4. Given the positivity surrounding the ability of the runner-up, this was a seriously encouraging debut by Front And Centre.
A daughter of Dynasty (Fort Wood), the Brett Crawford-trained winner is out of the dual UK Gr3 placed mare Alignmet (Alzao).
It has been a good week for the Ridgemont Highlands team.
Their Sandown-based stallion Pathfork (Distorted Humor) produced the Hghlands-bred sales-topper, a well related filly out of Scented Samantha, who sold for R1,2 million at the National 2yo Sale.
On Day 2 of the sale, a son of their premier stallion Dynasty topped the price list.
Highlands ranked third on the vendor list with their 13 lots selling for an aggregate of R2 010 000 – an average of R154 615.