The Dennis Drier-trained Croisette, who made such a big impression when winning on debut, may be good enough to defy the first-time-out-of-the-maidens bogey in the 1 000m handicap at Kenilworth today.
She may not have beaten much on Guy Fawkes day – to many in racing better known as Lester Piggott’s birthday – but she won like a good horse, coming away in the final two furlongs to win in a canter.
“I rate her highly, I think she is very special and very classy,” enthused Sean Veale while Drier, never a man to confuse his geese for swans, added: “I think she could be something special.”
The handicappers have put this well bred filly – by Var, she is a half-sister to the SA Fillies Classic and SA Oaks winner Juxtapose – on a mark of 86, maybe a fraction higher than warranted by the bare form but not unreasonable considering the way she won.
Queen’s Club, for instance, was introduced to handicap company on a rating of 88 while Mon Cherie was rated 82 after winning her maiden. That said, My Wicked Ways and Yucatan were both put in on 76.
The bookmakers are taking no chances and have cut the selection from 12-10 to 17-20 but they are shrewd judges of form – they wouldn’t last long if they weren’t – and they also listen to the post-race comments.
Queen’s Club (6-1) and My Wicked Ways (7-1) look the main dangers. The former has top weight and started favourite last time but was seriously interfered with while the Glen Kotzen filly has gone up a hefty eight points for last time’s 30-1 shock success.
Cape Town two-year-old races have been difficult to call so far this season and it’s worth noting that Richard Fourie rode Stuck On You last time and now switches to newcomer Erik The Red in the first. However Pray For Rain has been backed from 3-1 to 17-10 and the Drier colt gets the vote.
Over The Way (3-1) has some strong form claims in the 1 400m maiden 35 minutes later but, as she has already run 23 times without success, logic suggests we look elsewhere. Springisintheair (2-1) is a tentative choice to beat 22-10 second favourite The Vow and the reason for not going stronger is because she is drawn widest of all.
A handicap for maidens is something of a rarity. Peter Paul Rubens is favourite at 13-10 for race three and gets the vote to confirm last time’s placings with stable companion. Brooklyn’s Choice. The selection finished two lengths in front of Brooklyn’s Choice that day and is half a kilo better. Not surprisingly Fourie switches to him.
By Michael Clower