The R15 Million Big Sweat!

Front And Centre in the payout queue

Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Greyville Durban July Pick 6 should reach R15 million. Various bankers have been mooted – would you really want to be sitting on a goldmine going into the final leg with a banker? Probably not!

The big exotic reaches a climax in the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes, where SA Champion trainer Justin Snaith will be keen as mustard to set the record straight after his star Snowdance went down narrowly to Sean Tarry’s Redberry Wood in the same contest last year.

Flashback to 2018 Garden Province Stakes

A fierce competitor, Snaith won the weight-for-age fairer sex mile contest in 2017 with Equus champion galloper Bela-Bela. There were many who were shocked to see Snowdance pipped under the lights a year ago and the top yard takes no chances with a double-barrelled attack, which includes the 2018 runner-up as well as SA Horse Of The Year, Oh Susanna – recent end to end winner of the Tibouchina Stakes.

While there is precious little between the top quartet, which includes recent SA Fillies Sprint winner Celtic Sea and KRA Fillies Guineas winner, Santa Clara, in the SP ratings, Snowdance comes out on top – and has a wide gate to beat.

Horse Of The Year Oh Susanna

Trainer Justin Snaith said of his power pair recently: “They are flying! Snowdance has just gone to another level. She needed the run in the SA Fillies Sprint. She was meant to be in a barrier trial before that but they cancelled it, so she never got to have her proper prep. She’s come on lengths from that race. Oh Susanna has come on for her Tibouchina win. She’s not a 1400m filly, she’s better over a mile. So I think the Garden Province is going to be very interesting.”

And that fighting talk sets the tone for a cracker!

SP top-rated Snowdance might give top man Gavin Lerena little choice but to lead from her wide draw. History shows that the daughter of Captain Al’s best performances have been when she is allowed to stride freely behind a strong pace. Her undoing in this race last year was her antics off a slow pace and after showing her usual superb kick those exertions then told as she was caught late after looking a winner. She showed plenty of pace in the SA Fillies Sprint when beaten just under two lengths by a flying Celtic Sea.

Her Horse Of The Year stablemate Oh Susanna gets the services of Richard Fourie and has pulled a much kinder 3 draw. Jockey choice suggests she is probably the stable elect and she bounced back smartly from a below par effort in the Empress Club Stakes – when only beaten 2,20 lengths by July hope Camphoratus – to win the Tibouchina with a  grinding front-running display. There may be more awareness of the dangers of letting her lead here in the Gr1 arena.

Santa Clara (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Candice Bass-Robinson’s Santa Clara showed terrific ability when winning the KRA Fillies Guineas at the first meeting of the SA Champions Season in early May. While she appeared to not stay the 2000m of the Woolavington (she ran 7 lengths off Silvano’s Pride), the mile is her proven trip and she jumps from the same gate that she did when winning the Guineas.

Sean Tarry’s SA Fillies Sprint winner Celtic Sea was well beaten behind Santa Clara in the Guineas but had excuses after not settling. There is no evidence that she doesn’t stay the 1600m – and in fact her third behind Nafaayes in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas was a good effort and she could step up again after her confidence boosting last effort.

Front And Centre (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

A filly that should not be underestimated is the Cape Fillies Guineas winner Front And Centre, who has been bedevilled by wide draws in three starts here. She finished with a serious rattle when runner-up in the KRA Guineas and the Wollavington – and looks overdue for a change of luck. Anton Marcus will have mastered her hanging tendencies and she could pop up down the rail. Don’t leave her out.

Glen Kotzen’s Temple Grafin may have found it a bit sharp in the SA Fillies Sprint but stayed on well at her penultimate start for third in the KRA Fillies Guineas. She won a good race from a wide gate in the Umzimkhulu Stakes at this track.

Her stablemate Elusive Heart ran a top race in the 2018 renewal, with a strong late run. She ran a very decent fifth in the Tibouchina.

Joey Ramsden’s Rose In Bloom was a good third behind Snowdance in the Majorca last year but is probably not a her best over the mile.

Former Woodrufff runner Al Danza has her second start for the Dennis Drier yard and showed her class with seconds in both the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes and Gr2 Ipi Tombe Stakes. She has a wide draw to beat.

Originally a July entry, Roy’s Riviera has a smart turn of foot and showed in the King’s Cup when just behind Dark Moon Rising and Matador Man that she enjoys a mile.

Paul Peter’s Vistula is an up and coming three-year-old, who possesses a superb turn of foot and goes for her fourth win on the trot.

Sean Tarry’s rather enigmatic Desert Rhythm won the Golden Slipper over 1400m here as a two-year-old two years ago and looks to be better over shorter than a mile.

Twice As Smart will appreciate the step up to 1600m and although outgunned at the weights on paper she does have close up form behind the likes of of July runners Lady In Black and Camphoratus.

Gauteng raider Being Fabulous has a really tough task on the weight for age terms here.

Justin Snaith will rightly be looking to dominate matters here with the SP top-rated Snowdance looking to holder her illustrious stablemate Oh Susanna. But don’t discount Front And Centre!

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