The fillies’ leg of the Kenilworth Saturday double feature looks a lot more competitive than the colts’ equivalent run a half hour earlier. The R125 000 Listed Perfect Promise Sprint hosts a field of nine, with four having won previously. The presence of Elusive Fort’s first winner, Elusive Stars, will add a measure of interest.
Trainer Ronnie Sheehan doesn’t have a large string of horses at his disposal but he had the racecourse buz-zing after the Arc En Ciel bred Elusive Stars flew up over the Kenilworth 1400m to win her maiden in dazzling style on 15 March.
Her sire Elusive Fort has made an exciting start to his stud career. Said to have been a token R5000 purchase, Elusive Stars started at 22 to 1 and rattled Pick Six punters cages that day, improving dramatically on her fourth placed debut in a small field over Saturday’s course and distance.
The manner of the way she was making ground from some way off was the impressive aspect of that win, but it also becomes the concern as she goes back down 200m to the straight.
The national trainer log leader Justin Snaith holds a strong hand with Chestnut Girl and the maiden Sapphire Gem representing his operation. Karl Neisius partners recent maiden winner Chestnut Girl, who has her first try at 1200m on Saturday.
The Summerhill Stud bred daughter of Horse Chestnut was well beaten by Perpetua on debut but is obviously improving and her duel with the Ennion runner could make for interesting racing. Richard Fourie rides the Trippi filly Sapphire Gem, who is still a maiden after two seconds from two starts.
A daughter of one of the best racemares to race in recent years here in the Cape, she may have been outpaced as both her starts were over 1000m. She was runner up to the boom filly Arria last time and if not in need of the run after a 13 week break, she will warrant inclusion in all bets.
Greg Ennion also saddles a strong coupling. Recent course and distance winner In Limine beat Paradise Horse at her third start when running on well and showing good improvement in the process. It is interesting that Chris Puller, who won on In Limine, takes the ride aboard Perpetua.
The daughter of Scarlet Letter would have possibly been deemed to be the lesser fancied of the two but we may have to reserve judgement on that assumption.
Perpetua has run on well at all her four starts and after winning her maiden by 4 lengths at Durbanville at the third time of asking, she ran on well to the very smart Eros’s Girl last time over Saturday’s course and distance. That will probably give the Snaiths a good line of collateral as to the prospects of their two and technically Perpetua holds Chestnut Girl.
The Mike Bass trained Heart Warming is one of the few progeny of Scott Bros stallion Miesque’s Approval racing in the Cape. The Maine Chance Farms owned and bred filly ran on well for third and 2,50 lengths behind Chestnut Girl on debut.
She gets 2kgs from the Snaith filly and could challenge for top honours. Mike Robinson’s Hot Affair showed pace on debut when beaten 3,55 lengths by Chestnut Girl. She was backed from long odds there and may be worth following as a quartet kicker, assuming she makes further improvement.
Glen Kotzen’s astutely bought Sweet Parade (she cost just R20 000) has placed at both her starts and looks like a progressive sort. The daughter of Parade Leader was unfancied on debut when running on for a 1,40 length fourth to her smart unbeaten subsequent stakes winning stablemate, Rosier.
She then stayed on when 2,30 lengths behind Elusive Stars last time. She thus also goes back in trip 200m. Darryl Hodgson’s Sweet Sasha has her second outing after being beaten over 7 lengths by Chestnut Girl on debut. She will have 2kgs less to lump but it remains to be seen whether she can make the necessary improvement to come into contention for money.
We said the race was open and we stand by that contention. There is likely to be a hot pace from the jump and that will bring the likes of Elusive Stars, Perpetua, Sapphire Gem and Sweet Parade into contention. At this stage of their lives they are all making improvement and the chances of an upset result is always likely.
This race is named in honour of Perfect Promise, a brilliant racemare, sired by Caesour out of Meretricious and trained in the Cape by Eric Sands. She became the first South African horse to win a Gr1 down under, after being exported on 11 February 2006.
She claimed her first Australian Group One victory by winning the C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne. She was bred by Heinrich Winterbach at Varsfontein Stud in the Western Cape and sold to and raced by Peter Cowley during her South African career.
Perfect Promise won the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas,the Gr3 Diana Stakes and ran second in the Gr1 Fancourt Majorca Stakes. Her younger full sister was Irridescence, who raced for Team Valour and won the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong.