The early beat of the SA Champions Season drums will be heard at Greyville today as Justin Snaith steps out his first runner in advance of the opening of the festival on 3 May.
The reigning SA champion trainer, Snaith has been a major player on the East Coast for many seasons and he makes a low-key start to the long campaign with the Silvano gelding Platinum Prince, who was runner-up in this race last year.
The Kings Cup’s traditional home has been Greyville. But the contest – back in the days when it was still a Gr3 – enjoyed a brief interlude at Clairwood in 2013 and 2014.
It was run on the all-weather when won by Sean Tarry’s Bulleting Home in 2017, but Tarry made it three on the trot when Social Order won the 2018 renewal on the turf.
Tarry is back on Sunday with two serious gallopers in Captain And Master and the topweighted Matador Man. Anton Marcus is aboard the uber consistent Captain And Master, who built on his smart fourth behind Zouaves in the Hawaii Stakes at his penultimate start, when beaten a length and a half behind Tristful at this venue last weekend.
The SP top-rated Roy’s Riviera is one of two members of the fairer sex in the race and ran a cracker over the course and distance when narrowly beaten by Camphoratus in the Flamboyant Stakes. She compounded when beaten 6 lengths by the talented Flichity by Farr last time but is much better than that and she gets the services of the in-form and newly married Warren Kennedy.
Platinum Prince will be out to improve on a quiet Cape Summer Season where he was probably slightly disappointing and did not live up to expectations. He never sparked at his last start in the Jet Master Stakes. It is, in fact, now 4 months short of a two years that Platinum Prince has won a race – but he could repeat last year’s effort and go close,
Brian Wiid’s Emily Jay is the second of the girls. She has fair home form and has proven that she can mix it with the males.
Mr Roy was well beaten in the Christmas Handicap but has found form at his last two jumps – winning his penultimate and then showing good pace when beaten under 2 lengths by Tribal Fusion last time.
Our cover star, Paul Lafferty’s Ideal World gelding Dark Moon Rising. is a decent handicapper with very honest form at his last few starts. While originally suggested to be a stayer, he goes competitively around this trip and has run on well at his last two starts. He will enjoy a decent gallop and enjoys racing fresh – he last ran 9 weeks ago.
The 6yo Royal Armour appears to be more effective on the all-weather than the turf and has maintained good consistent form this season. At best, he must have a place chance with the revitalised Mark Khan in the saddle.
In a typically competitive handicap, Greyville specialist Matador Man and the consistent Dark Moon Rising could be running at the leaders late. Captain And Master is no slouch either – there are only eight runners, but go wide as possible in the exotics.