Brett Crawford has never won the Sophomore Sprint but he would appear to have a big chance of filling this gap in his CV at Kenilworth on Saturday as he has the two highest-rated runners in the 1 200m Listed race.
Stable jockey Corne Orffer sticks with Finding Camelot (a son of triple classic winner Camelot) on whom he finished a close third in the Langeman while Donovan Dillon gets the call for King Of Gems who was a length away fourth in that 1 500m Grade 3.
As expected, Dean Kannemeyer has decided against running the Umkhomazi winner African Warrior and Keagan De Melo, who rode the gelding to victory in that Grade 2, instead partners the third-highest-rated Constable for Candice Bass-Robinson who will also be represented by Three Two Charlie (Greg Cheyne). The last-named had a pipe-opener under Warren Kennedy at Durbanville a week ago.
Justin Snaith, bidding for Sophomore number five, relies on Captain Tatters (Richard Fourie) who has not raced since beating all except the Hong Kong-bound Armando in the Somerset 1200 four months ago.
The race has attracted a double figure field for only the fifth time in the last 17 years. Attempts to boost its attraction by switching it to January didn’t work – there were just six runners in 2017. Running it at Durbanville last year didn’t have the desired effect either as Pleasedtomeetyou beat only five home.
Vaughan Marshall, bidding for his third win in the race this century, will be represented by the Somerset third Ground Control (M.J. Byleveld) who is also out for his third Sophomore victory. But there will be even more interest in stable companion Silver Operator who takes on older horses in the Perpetua House Handicap. This Silvano colt was immensely impressive on debut and was only beaten a short head in the Langerman.
By Michael Clower