Racing News 27.2.2015 12:00 pm

Three-year-olds aim for the crown

TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPION. Louis The King was the SA Triple Crown winner in 2014.
Picture: Supplied

TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPION. Louis The King was the SA Triple Crown winner in 2014. Picture: Supplied

For the connections of many of the three-year-olds running in tomorrow’s R1-million Betting World Gauteng Guineas and R500,000 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas, the event is more than just about one race.

The Guineas represents the first leg of the SA Triple Crown while the Fillies Guineas is the opening leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara. There is a R2-million bonus for any horse who can win the Guineas over 1600m, the R2-million SA Classic over 1800m on Saturday 28 March and the R1.5-million SA Derby over 2450m on Saturday 25 April. There is a R1-million bonus for any filly who can win the Fillies Guineas, the SA Fillies Classic and the SA Oaks, all on the same days as the colts races and over the same distance.

Every runner going into the Guineas has the opportunity to go from there to win the other two but after tomorrow’s race meeting, it will come down to on colt and one filly. So there is a lot at stake.

Both the Triple Crown and Triple Tiara have been won twice. Horse Chestnut, who sadly passed away last week at the age of 19, was the first, in 1999, to win the Triple Crown, while Louis The King emulated him last year. The Triple Tiara was won in 2011 by Igugu and 2013 by Cherry On The Top.

Not too many horses have the ability to win over the three distances, let alone do it over a period of two months and Geoff Woodruff, who trained Louis The King, admitted it was not an easy training feat to keep a horse at the top level for so long.

As was the case in 1999 with Horse Chestnut, the Grade 1 Cape Guineas and Fillies Guineas, run in December, counts as an alternative first leg and those races were won by Act Of War and Majmu respectively. Act Of War is unlikely to make the trip to Joburg for the Classic and Derby so he is probably out of the reckoning but trainer Mike de Kock has said Majmu will be aimed at the Triple Tiara.

De Kock, who trained both Horse Chestnut and Igugu, says his charge will skip this Fillies Guineas but will line up for the Fillies Classic and SA Oaks.

As far as the colts are concerned, we will have to see who wins tomorrow and then judge is he is capable to go further in the Triple Crown.        

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