Today I’m off to Cape Town to ride in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate meeting. The race itself is one of the oldest in South Africa and it is more than just a big race day at Kenilworth. It really adds some class to South African racing.
Unfortunately as stated before, I was down to ride Edict Of Nantes but he is off to Hong Kong. I have managed to pick up the ride on Fifty Cents but he is way outclassed in this race. His merit rating is 98 while favourite Legal Eagle is at 123 which means he is 12.5kg under sufferance. Had this been a handicap Fifty Cents would have carried 47.5kg so the fact he is badly in at the weights theoretically gives him no chance. But that probably applies to 90% of the field. Therefore the banker on the day has to be Legal Eagle.
We also have some other features on the day, including the Grade 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes for fillies and mares which is at set weights so the three horses to fight it out should be Nother Russia, Nightingale and Gimme Six.
I’m riding Fresnaye who is a three-year-old taking on this quality of field for the first time. She finished third in the Cape Fillies Guineas and this race will shed some light on how good the three-year-old fillies really are.
The Grade 2 Peninsula Handicap is over 1800m and as it is a handicap, in theory, we should all have an equal chance. My first selection is Ollivander but if you look past him it is a very competitive race. I rode Black Arthur last time and he was probably just in need of a run but unfortunately still not negotiating the left-hand turn very well. This time I am on Horizon who I hope can place but he will need some improvement on recent form.
We also have the Chairman’s Cup where I’m riding Captain Splendid. He’s held on form by My World who in turn is held by Our Emperor, which means he could be a Pick 6 banker.
Another possible banker is in the Politician Stakes where Ancestry is very well handicapped. I ride The Sun Also Rises but he seems to be held on form as he has a low merit rating, even though he won his last start.
My other ride on the day is Paddington but unfortunately he is finding the drought in Cape Town against him as the track is very firm and he’s feeling his legs.
Tomorrow we are racing at Turffontein and we start the meeting with a Maiden Plate over 1400m. The horse with the strongest form line is Poormanslady who also jumps from No 4 draw which is very beneficial over this course and distance.
I’m riding Candy Kisses who has a chance but as he has a shocking draw, it makes Poormanslady hard to beat.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate, this time over 1800m, where I ride Collegiate. He has his problems as he is five years old and is only contesting his second race. I’m hoping he’s learned a bit from his first start because on that occasion he jumped badly and knew nothing about racing.
He must have an undeniable winning chance but it is a competitive race so consider any of Come The Day, Mackbool and Royal Resolution.
Race 3 is quite a competitive Progress Plate for three-year-olds. The main protagonists must be Flying Free, Hakeem and Down To Zero but there are also others with chances and therefore go wide in the Place Accumulator.
I’m riding So Var who is held on form but hopefully as a young horse he can still make improvement.
Race 4 is another Progress Plate where the best handicapped runner should come out on top. That honour goes to my ride, Glider Pilot, but unfortunately he has not raced for many months. The same applies to Heavenly Blue and it is hard to work out how fit they are at this stage.
The horse who is fit and has a good draw is Social Order. He could be a PA banker but the other two need to go into the Pick 6.
Race 5 is a Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m and your top-rated horse in this case is New Predator. On his best day he would be the horse to beat but he does have a bad draw and last time was found not to be striding out. Therefore my first selection is Captain Aldo.
He has a good draw and this is his ideal distance. The fact he races up handy makes this race tailor made for him. You could possibly banker him in the PA but for the Pick 6 consider New Predator, Champagne Haze and Amazing Strike.
I ride Kings Archer who is not well handicapped and does not have a good draw either.
I could have got the ride on Toro Del Oro but I could not make the weight. The way he has been running indicates he could enjoy the extra distance.
Race 6 is the Sea Cottage Stakes and is a competitive race for three-year-olds who are still on the upgrade. There are many with chances and others who could still make improvement. My first choice was Seerite but he has been scratched so that has left the race wide open. My selections are Aurelia Cotta, Silver God, Royal Crusade and unbeaten Majestic Mambo. Include as many as you can in the PA but for the Pick 6 also add in Alshibaa, Full Mast and Harlan County.
I ride Flight School who beat a very weak maiden field last time and will probably struggle to make inroads in this field.
Race 7 is the London News Stakes and once again the better handicapped runners need to be favoured. The two key runners should be Abashiri and French Navy with Matador Man and Brazuca the dangers. Include those four in the Pick 6 and Abashiri and French Navy should get you through in the PA.
I’m riding The Elmo Effect who is held on form and as this is not a handicap at the weights he theoretically has no chance. At least we are drawn well.
Race 8 is another stakes race with the best handicapped runners being Fortissima, Witchcraft, Patchit Up Baby and Go Direct being the main protagonists. Pick three of those mentioned for the PA but for Pick 6 put them all in as well as Top Shot and maybe Dromedaris, even though he is not well handicapped.
I am down to ride Samurai Blade who ran last Thursday. Hopefully he has been able to recover in time. However, as this is not a handicap he might find it difficult so a place would be good if he does run.
Race 9 is a Maiden Plate where you’ve got Mario Lanza coming out on form way above the rest. Unfortunately he is only a three-year-old and he is running over the marathon trip of 2850m. Therefore it would be a huge risk to banker him.
For the PA include the older horse Voodoo and Grab The Gavel although she is also a three-year-old.
In the Pick 6 include as many as possible as this is not a quality field and we are not sure who will see out the distance.
Race 10 is a Maiden Plate where we have some lightly raced runners which makes it difficult to find the winner but my first choice is Aranjuez, who ran a decent first race, attracted betting support and is drawn No 1. The dangers are Soldier On, Judd’s Rocket and Corrida.
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