The Ridgemont Highlands team celebrated a smashing Gr1 success at Kenilworth on Saturday when their undefeated Dynasty home-bred Front And Centre confirmed her superb credentials with an emphatic victory in the R1 million WSB Cape Fillies Guineas.
Despite having missed her prep run in the Western Cape Fillies Championship with muscle enzyme issues, Front And Centre showed her class and vast upward potential with a top drawer effort in one of South Africa’s defining classics.
And her victory was just reward for the Kieswetter family who have invested massive rands and oodles of unbridled confidence into SA horseracing.
A ‘super-confident’ Brett Crawford, who had endured the disappointment of seeing the winner’s stablemate Shamrock Wind withdrawn at the start after being injured, watched Front And Centre pass her acid test in style and also confirm his Ridgemont Highlands coloured tie choice.
Anton Marcus, riding his 102nd Gr1 winner, had Front And Centre relaxed four lengths off Silvano’s Pride, Just Chaos and Temple Grafin as the second favourite loped along and eyed the prize.
In the run for home, Front And Centre moved up powerfully alongside Silvano’s Pride and after a brief glance each way, the Crawford runner powered on to win by 1,50 lengths in a time of 99,03 secs to give Brett his second Cape Guineas trophy after Bad Girl Runs won in 2005.
Silvano’s Pride ran a cracker in second and held off the favourite Clouds Unfold, who never quite sparked, and came in a further 0,75 lengths back.
Sean Tarry visitor Second Request was not disgraced, running a 3,75 length fourth.
Anton Marcus said that he was privileged to ride a horse like Front And Centre.
“It was a litmus test even though there were only two rated better than her. I think she is better than this performance. It’s a pleasure to have Wayne, Belinda, Craig and Ross Kieswetter here. I just fly in and the team make me look good,” he said.
An emotional Brett Crawford said that he was pleased to have Front And Centre put her best hoof forward after her ‘small hiccup in October’.
A R300 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1 purchase, Front And Centre, a half sister to Ridgemont Highlands Gr1 winner sire Potala Palace (Singspiel), is a daughter of perennial champion producer Dynasty (Fort Wood) out of the UK Gr3 placed Alzao mare, Alignment.
A winner of all of her four starts, Front And Centre took her earnings to R795 625 at her first Gr1 success.
There will be a massive party in Robertson this evening!
Gr1 Fillies Guineas (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, December 15, R1 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.39.03
1 – FRONT AND CENTRE (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Dynasty (SAF) – Alignment (IRE) by Alzao (USA). Owner Messrs C & R Kieswetter & Ridgemont Highlands (Nominee Craig Carey); Breeder Highlands; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey A Marcus
2 – Silvano’s Pride (SAF), 60.0, ch f 3, Silvano (GER) – Mary’s Pride (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
3 – Clouds Unfold (SAF), 60.0, ch f 3, What A Winter (SAF) – Montelissima (IRE) by Montjeu (IRE)
Margins: 1.50, 0.75, 1.50