A decision to bring the R150 000 Listed Sophomore Sprint forward from a regular January slot at Kenilworth in recent years to Saturday’s feature billing at Durbanville appears to have enjoyed mixed results.
There is plenty of quality in evidence, but only 78 runners over the eight races makes for disappointing reading.
The feature – now run at 1250m – has attracted just six runners, and what it lacks for in numbers it makes up for in quality, with three particularly smart looking 3yo’s set to do battle.
In the absence of any stakes winners, the penalties for Listed and Graded race wins don’t apply. The weights are structured off a base for maidens and 1 time winners of 52kg, with a penalty of 2kgs for each additional win.
SA champion and national log leader Justin Snaith won this race last term (run in January 2018) with Sir Frenchie and he saddles the promising Drakenstein Stud-bred Clouded Hill.
A direct descendant from Final Call, the first filly Mrs Gaynor Rupert purchased back in 1986, the Horse Chestnut gelding has won two of his three starts in the fashion of a decent horse and has his first outing at Durbanville. A good winner beating Seventh Sea, despite casting a shoe last time, he looks the one to beat.
Cracking debut winner Pleasedtomeetyou may have beaten little of note first time out but gets 2kgs from the Snaith runner here and looks an exciting classic prospect. The son of Querari is highly regarded and should provide some stiff opposition under Bernard Fayd’herbe.
Top Of The Class shed his maiden at Durbanville first time out but was outgunned in three SA Champions Season starts. He did have excuses and pulled up lame after the Gatecrasher Stakes at his last start 14 weeks ago.
The Glen Kotzen-trained Lanza has won his last two starts and has his first start as a 3yo. The son of Elusive Fort looks progressive and has improved with every start. Ryan Munger rides the gelding who is the only runner in the line-up with course and distance experience.
The most experienced galloper in the field, the Sail From Seattle gelding Sailor Sam was well beaten in the Langerman, where he was reported not striding out. He has been found wanting at stakes level but enjoys a 2kg turnaround for a 3,75 length beating by Lanza last time. This is his first run at the track and he looks held.
Second of the Greg Ennion duo, Elusive Trader has his first start at the country course and his first beyond 1000m. No doubt getting his speed from his dam’s side, the Terry Andrews-bred gelding followed up on his Kenilworth maiden win by scoring over the same course and distance last month in his first start as a 3yo. He jumps on the paint and could give them a fright.
It looks a three cornered contest between Clouded Hill, Pleasedtomeetyou and Lanza.
The least exposed of the three, Pleasedtomeetyou represents the unknown quantity to some degree.
It should be a tightly contested race!