A race named in honour of a legend of the South African turf, the R200 000 Gr3 Sea Cottage Stakes headlines the Turffontein inside track programme today.
A conditions contest for 3yo’s, it could herald another classic prospect in advance of the Gauteng season.
This feature dished up the Gr1 Daily News 2000 runner-up and current Dubai campaigner Majestic Mambo in 2018, and Mike de Kock won it with the good filly Orchid Island the previous year.
De Kock has two runners on Saturday – and the Visionaire filly Virtuosa tops the SP ratings. After Ryan Moore’s fleeting visit to ride Rainbow Bridge, it is interesting to note that French rider Jerome Moutard takes the mount on the filly.
“Nothing strategic here! Jerome is on a working holiday and wanted to see the country. He was introduced to me by a friend of a friend,” confirmed Mike de Kock who was pleased that the visitor found the winner’s box on Tuesday at the Vaal.
Virtuosa must have a serious shout if one puts a line through her last outing against the boys when she ran some 7,75 lengths behind surprise winner Leopold in the Secretariat Stakes. The latter failed to frank the form when beaten under two lengths behind Florida Quays on Saturday, but the manner of Virtuosa’s previous two wins in lesser company was convincing enough to suggest she could challenge.
Her stablemate Spero Optima carries joint topweight and has won 2 of his 4 starts in good style. The R800 000 National Yearling Sale graduate clearly stays the trip and caught the eye when beating establishing elder Glider Pilot last time – the latter coming out to win his first race in over two years last Saturday when holding off the battle hardened stakes winner, Dawn Assault.
Robbie Sage’s Green Laser has run two fair races as a 3yo after showing good ability behind subsequent (disappointing) Gr1 Eden Roc early on. He should be much fitter on Saturday and from a good draw with Gavin Lerena up, he must go into exotics.
Corne Spies’ Snow Palace is the highest weighted filly in the field and the only three-time winner in the race. The grey daughter of Potala Palace tries the 1800m for the first time. Her dam won to 2000m and she could threaten for the places.
The unexposed Argentinian-bred Mohican is the mount of top jockey Anton Marcus and is sure to stay the trip on breeding. He was running on from some way back over shorter last time and previously shed his maiden at his second start in the manner of a horse with scope.
Joey Soma’s Tiger’s Rock returns from an unsuccessful Cape campaign and looks to have plenty to do on what he has shown to date.
Sean Tarry’s recent Workriders maiden winner Cornish Pomodoro has his third start and could be anything. He is sure to stay the 1800m on breeding and could be the surprise package.
Whiskytangofoxtrot put it all together at his sixth start when running on well to beat Bravo One by 2,75 lengths at the Vaal. He looks outgunned here.
Widely drawn, the second of the Corne Spies duo is the Silvano gelding Imperial Ruby, who proved his shock maiden win was no fluke when he followed up on Christmas eve. But he appears to be likely to be comfortable over further.
Pax Romana has his first run as a 3yo and his first since being gelded. A runaway maiden winner at the end of last season, his fitness after a 25 week break must be in doubt.
Spero Optima could be the horse to wide with. His stablemate Virtuosa has some class, while the lightly tried pair of Mohican and Cornish Pomodoro could be best of the balance.
The weather is forecast as mostly cloudy with a 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms
The track was recorded as good to soft on Friday and the false rail is set at 2m on the back straight to 5m on the bend, with a 6m spur at the 500m mark.