Pity the racehorse trainers of Port Elizabeth. This hardy, dedicated band toils week-in-week-out for relatively modest rewards to keep racing afloat in Eastern Cape. Then, when a nice feature race pops up on the programme, with a smidgeon more status and prize money, pirate ships appear on the southern horizon and marauders descend to carry off the treasure.
Happily, sometimes the locals get lucky and pull off a big race, sending the Cape Town raiders back home with shredded sails.
However, that doesn’t look likely to happen on Friday when the Listed Breeders Guineas for three-year-old fillies is contested over 1600m on the Fairview turf.
The big guns are in town: South Africa’s current leading trainer Justin Snaith and his Cape Town cohort of Brett Crawford, Glen Kotzen and Andre Nel. They’ll saddle five of the eight starters and the odds are on one of them grabbing the cheque.
Snaith’s runner Gertrude Bell would be a warm prospect anywhere in the land, so glows red-hot at Fairview. This filly has been retained for racing by breeder Drakenstein, so was clearly highly regarded from a young age.
Gertrude Bell has lived up to expectations with two impressive wins from four outings. Last time out, at Kenilworth, she was over-keen and lost position and impetus, but got it together to challenge at the business end and go down by less than a length.
Snaith stable jockey Richard Fourie knows all about the filly and, from an inside stall, the pair look hard to beat.
Crawford’s challenger, Brave New World, also sports Drakenstein’s blue and white livery and has a win and two seconds to her credit.
She raced green when negotiating the Kenilworth left-hand bend last time, so the right-hand turn here is a bit of an unknown. But, with blinkers on and Keagan de Melo at the tiller, she could prove a handful for the favourite.
Nel’s So Flawless and Kotzen’s duo of Musical Glitch and Sovereign Rose all have an abundance of Cape Town form to recommend them, so the PE lot can be excused for being tad gun-shy.
That said, the three local runners do have credentials – and their trainers can mix it with the best if they have the ammo.
The one that commands attention is Santa Therese from Alan Greeff’s stable, with Greg Cheyne in the irons.
This daughter of Flower Alley has won three times in five starts and might just be a match for the girls in the bigger centres.
Meanwhile, Nel’s travelling party of runners pose questions in a few other races on the card and he could leave laden with spoils even if he misses out in the main one.
1 Real Advisor, 4 Just So Easy, 7 Katherine The Wow, 3 Rooibos
11 Paris Opera, 2 National Liberty, 3 Sputnik One, 10 Demari
1 Shine A Light, 8 At Your Request, 7 Gift Of Peace, 9 Valeriana
8 Regimental, 4 Double Charge, 2 Toria Lake, 11 Lion King
6 Attorney General, 4 Gold Rank, 1 Arrabiata, 5 Capernaum
10 Encryption, 12 Golden Chance, 6 Wallis Simpson, 7 Green Dragon
4 Gertrude Bell, 3 Brave New World, 1 Santa Therese, 2 So Flawless
8 Princess Zena, 6 Sunshine Beach, 2 Lady In Waiting, 12 Sarajevo
1 x 2,4,8 x 1,4,5,6,11 x 6,10,12 x 1,3,4 x 2,6,8,10,11,12 (R648)
11 x 1 x 2,4,8 x 4,6 x 10,12 x 4 x 2,6,8,10,12 (R60)