Dickens On A Retrieval Mission – Or Splash Out In The Rockpool?

R3 million Pick 6 - who's banking on Charles?

Charles Dickens heads the field as a popular favourite for the SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby, the headliner at this weekend’s Hollywoodbets Kenilworth Saturday meeting and a fitting finale to the Cape summer season.

Candice Bass-Robinson’s star colt is on a retrieval mission following his unexpected defeat in the Gr1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate, the only blip on an otherwise perfect score sheet.

Rightly or wrongly, regular pilot  Aldo Domeyer came in for plenty of criticism following the colt’s sole defeat and he will no doubt be all out to set the record straight.

Charles Dickens is pipped by Al Muthana in an agonisingly close finish to the L’Ormarins King’s Plate (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

In what must surely rate as one of the most unusual renewals of this classic, the pair will face an armada of six runners from the powerful Justin Snaith stable, five of which are owned outright by Nic Jonsson.

With a R3 million Pick 6 pool projected on the day, the Bass-Robinson will carry a weight of hopes and dreams on his athletic back!

Snaith will virtually throw the kitchen sink at the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas winner and his main hopes of a third Derby victory appear to lie with second favourite Rockpool, the mount of Richard Fourie.

Snaith’s Rockpool looks promising and unexposed at this point (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Campaigned in partnership by Jonsson and Nancy Hossack, the colt comes off a fine hattrick of wins, the most recent of which a half-length score over stable companion and fellow Derby contender Without Question in the Gr3 Politician Stakes.

On pedigree, this big-striding son of Futura is sure to appreciate the 2000m trip. His sire won over the distance while his dam is by Jallad, who boasts an exemplary record in this classic. The sire of Cape Derby winners Grande Jete, Rabiya and Russian Sage, the former Highlands champ also features as the broodmare sire of 2016 winner It’s My Turn and of Eyes Wide Open, conqueror of future Horse of the Year Do It Again two years later.

Speaking of Do It Again, the Snaith-trained champion raced in the Jonsson silks, as does close relative See It Again.

Also by Twice Over and out of a Visionaire half-sister to Do It Again, the colt is a rare Derby runner for KZN-based trainer Michael Roberts and claimed the Model Man Mile prior to his arrival in Cape Town.

See It Again enjoys the services of Piere Strydom in what could be his Cape Derby swansong (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

With two close-up efforts at Kenilworth over 1400 and a mile under his belt, he will have the services of ageless champion Piere Strydom in what could be the popular veteran’s final Cape Derby.

By the way, Twice Over’s four contenders also includes the Jonsson-owned Mucho Dinero. This two-time winner has close ties to the Derby, for his dam, the Gr3 Final Fling and Ladies Mile victress Cash Register, is an own sister to 2013 winner Big City Life. Grant van Niekerk will do the honours and will bid to repeat his victory of two years ago aboard Linebacker.

Glen Kotzen trained Big City Life and on Saturday saddles Grinkov, yet another son of Twice Over. A Gr3-placed juvenile, the gelding comes into the Derby off a fourth place in the Politician Stakes.

Third in that race was At My Command, who had finished in that same position behind Charles Dickens in the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Cape Guineas.

He is trained by Brett Crawford for Lady Laidlaw’s Khaya Stables and will be partnered by red-hot Winning Form jockey Keagan de Melo.

Capetown Noir wins the Gr1 Cape Derby at Kenilworth 13-02-02

Khaya Stables’ Capetown Noir wins the 2013 Cape Derby

Derby success has been some time coming for the owner/trainer team, as it’s been seven years since Crawford took the honours with Edict Of Nantes, while Capetown Noir carried Lady Laidlaw’s familiar yellow silks to victory all of a decade ago for the Dean Kannemeyer yard.

Let’s be frank, the presence of Charles Dickens has certainly lifted the cachet surrounding this year’s SplashOut Cape Derby, so hats off to Gaynor Rupert for letting her homebred colt take his chances, rather than resting him until the start of the Durban season.

The son of Trippi may venture into uncharted waters as far as the 2000m trip is concerned, yet on sheer class alone, he sets a rare standard and not even Snaith’s six-pronged attack should come between him and a second Gr1 victory.

A reminder that the free-to-enter Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge offers a jackpot bonus of R250 000 to be shared by those players who find all ten winners on the Hollywoodbets Kenilworth Saturday card!

A must-be-won prize of R50 000 will be shared amongst the top 50 finishers on the SplashOut Cape Derby day leaderboard.

As an added incentive, players who make use of the handy Betslip facility to place a bet of R50 or more will qualify for an additional R5 million!

That means a Betslip player could win a massive R5 250 000 for a 100% clean sheet!

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