While Hawwaam looks all set to be the newsmaker at Greyville on Saturday, let’s not forget that there is another Gr1 contest on the programme!
The top trio stand out and the stage is set for a titanic North vs South duel in Saturday’s R1 million Gr1 Woolavington 2000. With a run under the belt in the recent KRA Fillies Guineas, the Cape duo may have a slight edge over Sean Tarry’s Return Flight.
There is little to choose between Cape Fillies Guineas winner Front And Centre, recent KRA Fillies Guineas victress Santa Clara and the talented Return Flight – a 2yo stakes winner at Greyville last term.
Brett Crawford’s Front And Centre came out firing after a break following her Majorca Stakes third behind Clouds Unfold, when flying up late from the widest of the draw for a 2,75 length second behind Santa Clara in the KRA Fillies Guineas. She will strip a fitter filly here, and despite her wide draw again, she must go very close.
Santa Clara followed up on her Umzimkhulu Stakes second when a runaway winner of the KRA Fillies Guineas. She has pulled a wide draw again, and it will be interesting to see how she measures up to a fitter Front And Centre on Saturday. Can she confirm her progress?
Return Flight comes in on a rich vein of form and off a hat-trick of feature successes at home. The daughter of Pomodoro gets the pole position draw and won the Thekwini at this track last term. She has improved lengths in her 3yo term and will make them gallop.
The Snaith stable have an excellent record in the Woolavington, having won the race at three of the last five runnings. The first of their duo, Silvano’s Pride has placed at both her starts here but was well beaten by Santa Clara and Front And Centre after showing plenty of her typical pace in the KRA Fillies Guineas. If she improves over further and can be settled, she could challenge for a place cheque.
It looks tough for the balance of them.
The well-related Blossom – now with Mike de Kock – looks held by Return Flight on her SA Fillies Classic and SA Oaks placed finishes. The daughter of Silvano is a promising sort, but the shorter Greyville straight could count against her.
SA Oaks third placer Seville Orange has the edge over Bize on their penultimate start and is a pacy galloper who stays well. Whether she is up to taking on this sort of opposition at this stage remains doubtful.
Oaks Trial winner Bize has won three of her four starts and looks to be a filly going places and improving all the time. Her Turffontein prep start produced an impressive victory and she has her first start at Greyville as an interesting contender for the places.
Second of the Alec Laird duo, the Elusive Fort filly Chitengo gets the blinkers after her 5,30 length fifth in the SA Oaks. She has drawn on the wide outside at her first start at Greyville.
The Listed Jamaica Handicap winner Princess Irene gets the blinkers fitted first time and will be looking to improve on her nine length finish behind Santa Clara in the KRA Fillies Guineas. She definitely needed that run and can be expected to up her game – without being considered a genuine threat to the top three.
East Cape Oaks runner-up Snapscan ran on well for fourth behind Roy’s Riviera in the East Coast Handicap at her opening start in KZN. The consistent daughter of Oratorio can improve further.
The Snaith’s Madonna has continued to improve with wins at her last two starts – including a smooth victory in the East Cape Oaks, which earned her a passport to KZN for the SA Champions Season. The daughter of Dynasty looks to be way ahead of the handicapper at this stage and could be a dark horse for the quartets.
Second of the Kotzen runners, Count Dubucks won her last start in a low-key handicap at Scottsville in good style but looks to have it all to do at level weights against this calibre of opposition.
It looks a race in three between some really smart 3yo fillies. Take your pick – we are leaning towards Front And Centre.