The Search For Beauty

Gr1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m

Hidden Beauty - is the highest rated runner in the field

Please note: Greyville race meeting has been postponed to Sunday 31 July and Turffonteins race meeting will now take place on Saturday

Gr1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m at Greyville on Sunday

Will the Golden Slipper form stand up? Ratings for the Gr1 race for 2yo fillies on July day were difficult to arrive at, with Princess Victoria a very easy winner and few of those close up with much previous excellence to speak of.

It was rather a pity that Hidden Beauty was seriously hampered entering the straight on July Day, lost her momentum and couldn’t get going again. She ran way below best.

The feature of the race was Felix the Cat, who ran on dramatically for second, wearing blinkers for the first time. She’d been a winner of her previous start, but nothing suggested she was up to Gr1 level. Could blinkers have made such a difference? Felix Coetzee had ridden her for the previous win, but had deserted her in the Golden Slipper for Hidden Beauty, whom he’d ridden at all her previous starts.

For the Thekwini stakes Felix has jumped ship again, to ride Felix The Cat. What does he know that we don’t – or did trainers make the decision for him?

As things stand, Hidden Beauty’s previous highest rating with us is a 101, while Felix the Cat on July day recorded an 88. Did we underrate the Thekwini? The official handicapper’s ratings appear for the very first time this season. He’s got Hidden Beauty on MR 102 and Felix the Cat on MR 100. His reading of the Golden Slipper was clearly different from ours. Third finisher Extra Zero was given MR 95 and the fourth Uptothemoon MR 92, which must be way above what he’d had them before – although we’ll never know since official ratings weren’t published! If he used fifth finisher Amanee  (MR 90, beaten 6 lengths) as line-horse for the race he may well be in trouble. In our book Amanee ran way below form, with a 77 vs. 92 at her previous facile win.

Lots of questions to answer then in Thekwini. Matters are compounded because of the Greyville 1600m draw disadvantage. Imagine, the two major Gr1 races for 2yo’s who aren’t sprinters, are both contested at Greyville in large fields where the draw is a killer.

To summarise this introduction, we don’t trust the Golden Slipper result. Hidden Beauty and Amanee didn’t reproduce their ratings, not did seventh finisher Stern Line, while Felix the Cat, Extra Zero and Upthemoon improved out of all recognition. The Golden Slipper, in other words, is in our books a right royal mess. The Thekwini will show us right or wrong.

Hidden Beauty, not drawn well at ten, deserves another chance. On her earlier 2yo form the daughter of Victory Moon stands out.

Mike de Kock’s Amanee also deserves another chance, although the daughter of Pivotal has now failed in two Gr1 events (Allan Robertson, Golden Slipper). Kevin Shea takes the ride. Championship chaser Delpech stays with De Kock’s unbeaten Ilha Bella. This Fort Wood filly caught the eye when winning her second start over 1400m in open company. She could be anything, especially as she’s bred for a mile and more.

Another surprise is to see Marcus on Jeter rather than stable companion Stern Line. The latter had very useful form prior to her Golden Slipper debacle. Jeter was beaten as odds-on favourite when trying to make all in a juvenile plate earlier this month, while improving a little on her previous rating with us. She’s drawn one, and may well try to set the pace again. Stable companion Stern, drawn six, gets the services of Hatt. Our guess is that Hatt is on the right one.

Jeter’s conqueror Miss Ipanema is also in the line-up. She had two seconds earlier in her career in the Cape, before coming to KZN. Odds-on at her first start there she finished second again, but all fell into place the next time when trying 1400m and getting the better of odds-on Jeter. The Australian bred might well improve further over this 1600m.

The rest of the runners look to have a bit to find to be able to feature.

About The Pace

Interestingly, not one of the runners in the line-up has yet been over a mile. The size of the field (thirteen) and the Greyville bend will make for a good early pace and stamina should count. Hidden Beauty gets our vote, and should have no stamina issues, being by Victory Moon out of a mare who won a mile. Stable companions Amanee and Ilha Bella must be taken seriously, as both could be better than rated. If blinkers indeed did the trick for Felix The Cat last time out, then she might make the frame again. Stern Line, too, is a place prospect. There are lots of questions to be answered!

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