The late Peter Kannemeyer often quoted the maxim that ‘blood rules the land’.
If that be half true, the 2018 renewal of the Gr1 Cape Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday is set to produce fireworks with a stellar gathering of a generation of 21st century stars who have shown their classic credentials, time and again.
With progeny of past Guineas winners and trainers, as well as jockeys Anton Marcus and Bernard Fayd’herbe who have been there and done it, Saturday’s race looks a cracker and no cut ‘n dried affair.
Highest rated 3yo is Vaughan Marshall’s One World, an impressive winner of his five starts that included the Langerman and the Concorde Cup. He ran from a wide draw in the latter feature when pushed all the way to the wire by Graham Beck Stakes runner-up, Chimichuri Run. One World showed great resolve but looked flat to the boards – and found extra, as good horses do.
Second highest rated and first of the Tarry duo is Chimichuri Run, who really ran on well in the Concorde and would have settled better at his Milnerton home base three weeks on. The son of Trippi is yet to finish out of the money at his eight starts and must be a challenger.
Tobie Spies’ Van Halen ran a poor race when last and ten lengths back in the Cape Merchants. The son of Oratorio, a Gr1 winner, had won his first start as a 3yo impressively on 18 October and that poor effort has been written off as an unascribable off day. There must be a question mark about the mile, given his natural speed, but the connections are confident who will find his way.
Joey Ramsden’s Cape Classic winner Twist Of Fate didn’t come up to scratch when trying different tactics in the Concorde Cup but stayed on gamely for third. There is a likelihood that this talented son of Master Of My Fate may go up and lead again on Saturday.
Mike de Kock’s Gr1 Premiers Champion Juvenile Stakes winner Soqrat showed up well when staying on for third in senior company behind the hardknocking Captain Aldo in the Joburg Spring Challenge at his first start as a 3yo. A top-class 2yo, he runs fresh off a ten week break and cannot be underestimated.
Second of the Sean Tarry duo, CTS Ready To Run Stakes winner Cirillo looks to be improving fast and has run two top-class races down in the Cape.
The fact that Soqrat holds him on 2yo form may prove to be ancient history when the gates open on Saturday. He was drawn widest when winning the CTS Stakes last time but on Saturday has the veritable run of the race from his 2 gate under the talented Lyle Hewitson.
Crown Guardian has been scratched.
While her Dad Mike was never a Cape Guineas specialist in his forty distinguished years as a top trainer, Candice Bass-Robinson will be keen to change the stereotype and saddles the fast improving Majestic Mozart and the What A Winter gelding, Sacred Arrow.
Majestic Mozart will have the run of the race from his 1 draw and after sustained finishing efforts for fourth and second in the Cape Classic and CTS Ready To Run Stakes respectively, looks set for a good effort as he steps up to a mile. The son of Dynasty has run out of turf over the 1400m at his last two starts and if he gets a decent pace should be cutting them down late.
Stablemate Sacred Arrow is 2kgs better off with Majestic Mozart on their Cape Classic clash for a half length beating. A confidence boosting MR 88 Handicap victory in the interim looks like boosting his confidence – but he still has some way to go to find the top-rated runners.
The sentiment and ratings suggest One World will lift his game again – but it’s no walk in the park and chances must go to all of Chimichuri Run, Cirillo, Soqrat and Twist Of Fate.