After two highly respectable Grade 1 runner-up efforts, the Charles Dickens fairytale is back in print in 2023 after the magnificent chestnut son of Trippi soared to victory in Saturday’s R500 000 World Sports Betting Gr2 Guineas at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
The Cape raiders have dominated the East Coast classic in the 21st century and Charles Dickens returned to action on the day of King Charles’ coronation after a ten week break to maintain the visitor’s unbeaten sequence since Bernard Fayd’herbe steered Do It Again to victory Justin Snaith in the 2018 renewal.
Just a week after travelling up from Milnerton to join the small Candice Bass-Robinson Champions Season string at Summerveld, a ring-rusty Charles Dickens disposed of a field comprising eight of his contemporaries, including three Gr1 winners, in the style reminiscent of the latter half of 2022 when we witnessed him reeling off his first six victories, culminating in the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Cape Guineas a week prior to Christmas.
Having his first start away from his home province, Charles Dickens was all the rage in the build-up and had the public out in numbers to cheer him home at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.
Backed into 5-10, Aldo Domeyer had the star galloper in midfield as Wiccan Warrior led At My Command and Dave The King early.
Coming off the false rail into the straight, Domeyer pulled Charles Dickens inside and onto the rail.
In a matter of strides the chestnut was stretch and after a reminder at the 250m mark with the threatening action in midfield, he drew clear to beat the fast-finishing SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby winner See It Again (20-1) by 2 lengths in a time of 96,14 secs.
Now with Mike de Kock, Dave The King (10-1) was always thereabouts and stayed on for third, ahead of Cousin Casey (11-2), who appeared to have every chance before fading late for fourth.
The Gr1 WSB SA Classic winner Anfield’s Rocket (16-1) takes forever to get into the race and was beaten 4,50 lengths into fifth.
A relieved Candice Bass-Robinson said it was a privilege to train high-class horses and stallion prospects like Charles Dickens, but they clearly are not without pressure! With Saturday out of the way, she indicated that Charles Dickens would be aimed at the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge at the same venue on 10 June.
The confident Aldo Domeyer joked that he was more worried about accommodation in Durban than whether South Africa’s highest rated 3yo would come through the test. He said that if his favourite horse was 60% ready, he would beat Saturday’s field.
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Now a winner of 7 races with 2 places from 9 starts for stakes of R2 603 438, Charles Dickens is a Drakenstein home-bred son of past SA Champion sire Trippi (End Sweep) out of the five-times stakes winner Demanding Lady (Dynasty), who scored up to 2200m.
Charles Dickens’ victory completed a feature double on the day after Trip Of Fortune, also a Drakenstein home-bred, had won the IOS Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes earlier on.