Now the Cape season really starts!

October 22, 2021

We’re getting to that time of year in the Cape when the race meetings start resembling the goings on in the pit garages at a Formula One qualifying session, writes Gary Lemke for

You’re familiar with the scene. While the likes of Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin and Nicholas Latifi are out there trying to set times that might see them scrape into Q2, the big guns sit patiently in their cars in the garages. Then, the tyre warmers start to come off and Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris get ready for their flying laps.

There’s that feel about it as we head to Kenilworth on Saturday. It’s the first weekend meeting since racing switched from the “country course” at Durbanville. And with it, some of the bigger guns are being prepared to launch their season which will see a number of them contest the Grade Ones in a month or two’s time.

The Grade Two Western Cape Fillies Championship over 1400m is one such race. A strong field of 11 will go to the start and the winner usually goes on to bigger and better things. There are some high-class fillies in the field, as always, and they wouldn’t be entered if their connections didn’t think highly of them. So, even when the dust settles afterwards, don’t discard any of these fillies going forward, not even the one who finishes last (11th).

GGG-Gaming-sponsored trainer Candice Bass-Robinson sends out three very good fillies – Santa Maria, Amanzimtoti and Forries Forever – while champion trrainer Justin Snaith has four entrants, Maria Querol, Gimme Dat, Mercury Rising and Zambaq.

The early favourite though comes in the form of Glen Kotzen’s Kailene, who was beaten a short head by Rain In Holland in the Grade One Thekwini Stakes over 1600m at Greyville in her last start. She is the highest merit rated filly in the race (102), but this is the start of her Cape campaign and she hasn’t raced for 84 days.

Maria Querol is rated a 100 – the whole field carries 60kg, so the MR is an important handicapping guide – but she hasn’t been seen since trouncing Amanzimtoti some 119 days ago. Snaith is a master trainer, but this filly’s fitness levels won’t be where they will be in a month’s time, which also applies to Kailene.

With that in mind I’m tempted to go with Bass-Robinson to run 1-2 with Amanzimtoti and Santa Maria. Aldo Domeyer has elected to ride the former, who is a daughter of the brilliant Beach Beauty, but I’m a big fan of Santa Maria and she might well upset the applecart, and her current odds of 8-1 are appealing.

Bass-Robinson has won this race previously with Clouds Unfold, who, like Santa Maria and Amanzimtoti, races in the familiar blu and while silks of Drakenstein Stud.

Those silks could also come to the fore in the Cape Classic, a 1400m Grde Three for colts and geldings. Again its Bass-Robinson who catches the eye here with Trip Of Fortune, who might just be the best thre-year-old she has in her stable.

But it’s also a high-class field of nine and the same principle as the fillies race applies – follow each and every one of these three-year-olds in the coming months because they will make you money by doing so.

Also worth following on Saturday is Whoa Whoa Whoa. This filly really caught the eye when winning her maiden and the Brett Crawford-Anton Marcus-Ridgemont Highlands combination is deadly. Watch this filly and ink her name into your book. She might well turn into something special and is far better than her current merit rating of 85 might suggest.

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