Justin Snaith and Richard Fourie joined forces at the start of the new season and after just over a fortnight have already established themselves as the hottest trainer-jockey combination around.
They look set to make their presence felt again at Kenilworth on Saturday in the topliner, an MR 94 R110 000 Handicap for Fillies & Mares, run over the 1000m.
The new SA Champion conditioner has three runners in the eight horse field and the smart Querari filly Angel’s Trumpet must be the stable elect with the irrepressible Fourie taking the ride again after winning on her over the course and distance last Saturday.
Apparently named after an extinct poisonous flower, Angel’s Trumpet caught the eye less than a week ago when she took on a decent field of male speedsters including the likes of the aged but evergreen star Tevez, and ground them into the turf with an enthusiastic and explosive galloping display. That was her first run after a break of three months, prior to which the summer going could have contributed to the now three-time winner losing her good form. She did flash up for fourth 3,45 lengths behind the talented Magical Wonderland in the Gr2 Sceptre Stakes at the L’Órmarins Queen’s Plate Festival in January – but appeared to relish the soft underfoot conditions last Saturday. She hammered the speedy Olympian (admittedly in receipt of 5,5 kgs) by a going away 1,25 lengths. If not suffering from a second run after a rest hiccough, she looks likely to be very competitive again here and gets the blinkers fitted in an interesting move.
The Snaith’s dual Gr3 winner Nordic Breeze failed by a nose in a thriller when bidding to win the Gr3 Champagne Stakes for the second consecutive year at her last run. Prior to that she beat Ostinato going away and looks to hold that one again. Apprentice Louis Burke claims 4kgs and that could be a dealmaker here.
The third of the Snaith runners, Weston dropped out at Durbanville last time when carrying a heft 64,5kgs (before apprentice allowance) and beaten just over 6 lengths by Velvet Dawn in a modest MR 80 Handicap. She looks to have plenty to do here.
Mike Stewart’s speedy 4yo It Is What It Is carries a paperweight 49,5kgs courtesy of new Cape apprentice Liam Tarentaal. While her form may not appear inspiring on the surface, she has run some fair races and could give them the slip if allowed too much leeway.
While held by Nordic Breeze on her penultimate jump, Glen Kotzen’s Ostinato is a very capable course-and-distance winner who could give Aldo Domeyer a welcome back present after the new Cape champion jockey’s short holiday. The daughter of Judpot is probably at her best over 200m further but she will be running at them late and must be included in permutations.
First of the Joey Ramsden duo, the beautifully-bred Still I Rise returns from a rest of 27 weeks where she is another that went through a loss of form. She is by Street Cry out of an unraced Encosta De Lago half sister to a Gr1 Australian Cup winner. So she could go a bit further in time! According to stable reports, Still I Rise has undergone the Caslick Procedure – this is a surgical closing of the upper part of the vulva, commonly practiced on broodmares. The procedure evolved in an effort to treat what was said to be the negative effect that air had on a mare’s reproductive system. Her trainer is a master and ignore her at your peril – with match fitness a real concern.
Her stablemate Made In Hollywood looks held by Nordic Breeze on her Champagne Stakes fourth (2 lengths) last time out. While the daughter of Querari did her self no favours, she had excuses jumping sideways at the start and had been off for two months. She is 3kgs worse off with Nordic Breeze though and will have to show improvement.
The beautifully bred and well-related Vice Versa returns to race action after a break of ten weeks and gets the services of new Highlands-Ridgemont rider, Anton Marcus. The daughter of Var won her maiden over the course and distance and failed to fire last time when beaten close on 8 lengths by Ostinato. She meets the latter on a 2,5kg swing at the weights, but her interrupt programme suggests she possibly has her issues. She was scratched lame from her only previously proposed run on 27 December 2017. The betting will be the best guide.
Angel’s Trumpet has regained her confidence and she could make it two on the bounce just a week after her smart win. Her stablemate Nordic Breeze and the dangerous late flyer Ostinato could be next best.