Distracting Equinomics

Gr3 Kenilworth Fillies Nursery, at Kenilworth on Saturday

Alascan Maiden

Impressive. The beautiful Alascan Maiden has shown good ability in two runs to date and now puts that to the test

Top stallion Captain Al has three of the seven runners in Saturday’s R150 000 Gr3 Kenilworth Fillies Nursery, and while it is by no means a cut and dried affair, the exciting Alascan Maiden looks the part. Mike Bass won this race last year, and he sends out a powerhouse Captain Al coupling.

While the Vaughan Marshall yard has generally been the operation to be with in the baby ranks over the past few years, the nature and ‘equinomics’ of the game has changed in many ways. The master Mike Bass has graduated,no doubt through customer demand and the need to keep pace with the competition, to buying a different kind of horse these days.

His two cost a hefty R2,2 million between them on the Cape Premier Yearling Book 1 last year and give the yard a strong hand. At the same time we need to not be distracted by sums and pedigrees as, unlike in politics and business, price tags and sires don’t give horses any bonus free lengths at the start.

Looker

The equisitely good looking Alascan Maiden came out firing on all cylinders on 23 February to win her Kenilworth 1200m debut in smooth fashion beating Chanel Five by 3,25 lengths.

She was strongly fancied with Anton Marcus throwing a leg over at her next start in the Listed Perfect Promise Sprint. After moving up looking all over a winner in the final 300m, she was left cold by a flying Kitti Cat, who went past her like she was standing still. Pure Power has had three good runs, and was 1,25 lengths further back in the Perfect Promise after taking some time to find her stride.

She won on debut in January and then ran a good second to Paul Reeves’ speedy Sea Cat next time. It is interesting to observe that Kitti Cat was 4,70 lengths behind Pure Power in the Bass’ runner’s debut win. So the form is a tad muddling as the juvenile books tend to be.

Good Buy

On the flipside of the big bucks equation lurks Paddy Kruyer’s Ashaawes filly, Catchphrase. The Klawervlei bred cost just R35 000 on the self same Book 1 sale as the Bass pair, and she has done little wrong to date.

Catchphrase was narrowly beaten on debut by Wheredowego, and then came out shunting on the May day Worker’s Day public holiday to beat Winter’s Eve by 3,25 lengths overSaturday’s course and distance.

It is interesting to draw some collateral here. Winter’s Eve previously ran 3,10 lengths behind a certain Icy Winter Air, and the latter was to go on an run a nice third behind shocker Virgo’s Babe in the Gr2 SA Nursery up North on Champions Day. It’s a stretch of the imagination admittedly, but worth noting.

Stakes Winner

Dean Kannemeyer’s Tiger Dance filly Kitti Cat is the only two time winner here and also the only stakes winner in the race. Purely on that track record, she warrants respect. Kitti Cat won her maiden on 20 March over the Kenilworth 1000m and on that holds both Smiling Mistress (2,70 lengths) and subsequent winner, Wheredowego (1,80 lengths).

Kitti Cat came out after her maiden win and followed up with an impressive late dash victory in the Listed Perfect Promise Sprint over Saturday’s track and trip. Gerrit Schlechter brought her through late there to collar Alascan Maiden by half a length, with Pure Power in third. She thus has the Bass runners held on that, if reproducing that level of performance again.

Thrills And Spills

The Vaughan Marshall trained Wheredowego is the third of the Captain Al progeny on show. She improved on a quiet debut to beat subsequent maiden winner Catchphrase next time out. The latter mentioned endorsed that form, with a good win at her next start.

Paul Reeves’ Thrill Factor showed good speed on her 1000m debut a month ago, when tiring to run 1,70 lengths off Tour De Var. She was bumped in running, and thus ran a fair race in the circumstances.

It is commendable to see Darry Hodgson taking his chances with the twice unplaced Smiling Mistress, who, on paper, has done nothing to warrant a tilt at this Gr3. She was slow away on debut, and did make some late headway to finish 2,70 lengths behind Kitti Cat though. She ran handily next time and faded badly. She may be better if given a chance to run at the leaders late.

Muddle

The juvenile form is not categorical or particularly convincing at this stage. Kitti Cat may well be even better than everybody thinks, and on paper is going in the right direction and looks the logical choice to record her third win.

It would however be tempting fate to ignore the Bass coupling or Paddy Kruyer’s smart Ashaawes filly. We are leaning towards Alascan Maiden to turn the tables on Kitti Cat, with Catchphrase and Pure Power scrapping over minor money.

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