Gr3 Prix Du Cap over 1400m at Kenilworth (new course) on Sunday
Heading up the four card program this weekend is the Gr3 Prix Du Cap at Kenilworth on Sunday. The conditions of the event favour some much more than others, and particularly well in at the weights this time around are both Fragrant Al and the 3yo Trinity House, writes Steve Furnish.
One of four runners from the in form stable of Joey Ramsden, the Captain Al filly Trinity House went on to win four in a row after beating Princess Victoria 13 months ago and amongst those successes was the Gr3 Fillies Nursery, and the listed Fillies Sprint. Princess Victoria has proven herself to be a champion filly since then, but having got within two lengths of her in both the Fillies Championship and Fillies Guineas in recent outings, Trinity House is clearly very close to the best of her generation. One would expect her to be the stable elect with Glen Hatt in the saddle and she has drawn well in gate three. She can still improve plenty and should fight it out.
In Like Flynn
The next best in at the weights of Joey’s four is In Like Flynn. This daughter of National Assembly was at her peak at this stage of the season last year and she did have the rest well beaten when only picked off late by Winter Burst in this race. She was given a three month break after winning the listed Breeder’s Guineas at Fairview in her next start, but since then she’s battled to find her best form. She was running on strongly when again visiting the Eastern Cape last time out, but out at the weights here and drawn wide to boot, a reproduction of last year’s effort looks unlikely.
The Dupont filly Ce Loire has been ultra consistent since shedding her maiden tag over today’s distance at Durbanville eleven months ago. More often than not seen out in handicap company, Ce Loire has only managed to find the winner’s enclosure once in ten starts since and would look to have little chance here. She was running on stoutly when only beaten a half length by Frequent Flyer in the listed Jamaica Handicap in her penultimate start though and with that one having since had the likes of Trinity House and Dance With Al behind her when a runner up in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes, her form is clearly better than it would appear at first glance.
After finishing fourth in the prestigious Gr1 Golden Slipper as a juvenile, Flaming Alice went on to contest both the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes and Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas prior to a nine month layoff. She’s been ultra consistent since her return to action in September, but as yet she has been unable to reach the same heights, and even off her best previous mark in the handicap she has no easy task here.
A length and a half ahead of Flaming Alice in the 2010 Gr1 Golden Slipper won by Mahbooba, was the runner up Fragrant Al. One of five daughters of Captain Al in today’s race, Fragrant Al has proven to be at her best around today’s distance. Usually seen racing up with, or close to the speed, Fragrant Al was again at her best in Natal last season and put in a particularly gutsy performance when winning the Gr2 Tibouchina Stakes over 1450m at Clairwood (the same course and distance as the Golden Slipper). Since being narrowly beaten on her seasonal debut in October, she has been a little below best, but she has been racing over sprint distances and she does now get Felix Coetzee back in the saddle for the first time this season.
Dance With Al
Is Fragrant Al the stable elect though? Talented jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe has always had a good association with the stable of Justin Snaith and his mount Dance With Al is well in at the weights with most if taking into account her previous best rating of 102. Third in each of the last two runnings of the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes, Dance With Al is without a win since beating the boys in the 2010 Cape Merchants, but she did put in her best effort for quite a while when fourth in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes last time out.
Making up the trio of Captain Al progeny from the stable of Justin Snaith is the 3yo Ocean’s Swift. She’s been steadily progressing very nicely and was far from disgraced when behind Princess Victoria in both the Fillies Championship and Fillies Guineas. On those efforts though, she does look well held by Trinity House.
Rarely out of the frame, Croc Valley has been a tremendous servant to connections. She is usually seen out over further, but interestingly, she has gained two of her five career wins over today’s distance. Since finishing fourth in the Fillies Guineas way back in 2009 though, she’s found the going a bit tough when stepping up to feature race company and seemingly having already reached her peak, she does look unlikely to improve on her fourth positioning in this race last season.
Equally at home in both soft and good underfoot conditions, the Tiger Ridge filly Mombasa has won three of her six starts over today’s distance and she is at the top of her game right now. Indeed, she ran on best of all when picking up a MR84 Handicap over today’s trip following a three month break in November and she was only beaten a length by Ce Loire when stepping up in class last time out. Mombasa meets Ce Loire on 4kg better terms here and she is now having her third run after the rest.
The best in at the weights of Piet Steyn’s two runners is the 3yo Super Elegant. She commands a very nice turn of foot on her day and has caught the eye running on best of all on a number of occasions, most notably when only beaten 1,1 lengths by Trinity House in the Fillies Nursery last season, and when third to State Blue in the Gr3 Champagne Stakes on her seasonal debut. She battled to get going in the farcical Gr1 Paddock Stakes in her penultimate start and was clearly below best when making no show in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes last time out. That latest outing is a concern, and ideally needing further, and drawn wide here, a place rather than a win seems the more likely.
The dark horse of the race is Super Elegant’s stable companion Money Surger. She too can quicken in impressive fashion as she showed when given a vintage ride by Pierre Strydom to win in handicap company over 1200m on Met Day. Piet Steyn’s charge also fairly flew when only beaten a neck into third over 1000m last time out and would have won easily going away had she have obtained a clear passage. In sixteen starts, Money Surger has only previously raced once beyond sprint distances and interestingly, that was when finishing at least as well as the winner Frequent Flyer (off levels) in last season’s listed Stormsvlei Mile. She could pop up at very rewarding odds here.
The Toreador filly Street Runner showed promise early on and was far from disgraced when fifth to this season’s Gr1 Majorca Stakes winner Ebony Flyer in the 2010 Gr2 Odessa Fillies Championship. She only raced twice during 2011 though and having been reported as blowing (usually a sign of pain or fright) in her first outing for nine months in the Gr2 Sceptre Stakes last month, she is perhaps best just watched for now.
Third in this race last season, Dean Kannemeyer’s charge is as consistent as they come. She’s sure to give of her best again and another gallant effort can be expected. She is without a win in twelve starts now though, and once again a place looks to be her best hope.
Glen Puller’s charge has gained two of her three wins over 1400m and is a fair handicapper in her own right. She’s takes a big step up in class here though and having failed to get within ten lengths of the winner in each of her last two starts she cannot be seriously fancied at today’s weights
About The Pace
Although there are no out and out front runners in the field, two of those most likely to be involved in the finish have done very well racing from the front and with a number of very powerful couplings in the race at least a fair pace should be forthcoming. Trinity House and Fragrant Al are best in at the weights and along with Dance With Al will no doubt be the favourites to fight it out. I’m going to take my chances though, with the Surging River filly Money Surger. She’s been producing a very powerful burst of speed over shorter in recent outings and is sure to relish the extra.