Festival awaits Viva Rio

PUBLISHED: 21 February 2020

Kasimir (Liesl King)

Long-time favourite Viva Rio rates no more than a tentative selection for the ARF Commemorative Cape Derby at Kenilworth’s Prawn Festival meeting tomorrow. The form of the 18-10 chance is much the best – his Cape Guineas second sees him rated a minimum of 4.5kg clear of the rest – but this is a bad race for favourites.

Every one of them has been beaten in the last six runnings when the winners have included a 28-1 shock as well as others starting at 16-1 and 13-1 – and the gelding’s stamina could well have a hole in it. True, he is by Oratorio who won the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes over this trip, but most of the wins chalked up in the first three generations on the dam’s side have been over 1 200m.

Kasimir (Liesl King)
Kasimir (Liesl King)

This could open the race right up. King Of Gems (9-1) won the Concorde Cup and can be excused his disappointing effort in the Guineas as things didn’t go his way that day. Sachdev (9-2) also has strong form claims while Politician-winning stable companion Silver Host is preferred by both Richard Fourie and punters who backed him from 11-2 to 15-4 during the week.

The best outsider could well be Golden Ducat at 16-1. This is a half-brother to both Hawwaam and Rainbow Bridge and last time’s Pinnacle fourth was his first run since being gelded. He is almost certainly a lot better than that.

Kasimir is a confident choice to repeat his victory in last year’s Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes when he became the first successful outright favourite in six seasons. In the Cape Flying Championship he was a race short, and not fully tightened up, but he was still less than a length third to Russet Air and his main threat – at least so far as the betting was concerned – was removed when Run Fox Run was scratched yesterday with an abnormal blood count.

Of course Russet Air could do it again, particularly with Aldo Domeyer once more in the irons, as could Bold Respect who was only beaten on the nod while Chimichuri Run just might be a little bit better than last time’s fifth would suggest.

The favourite in the Vasco Da Gama Prix Du Cap has been successful in three of the last four years but this looks a hotter renewal. The 2-1 favourite Front And Centre is under something of a cloud after failing to fire for no apparent reason in the Majorca and the same applies with Santa Clara. Golden Chance has claims on her Sceptre third but she was beaten more than five lengths.

I prefer to take a chance with 15-2 shot Larentina who was fourth in the Cape Fillies Guineas and who ran as if this could be her trip when finishing like a train under top weight in a 1 200m handicap four weeks ago.

It seems pointless looking beyond Erik The Red in the Kepu Cape Of Good Hope Nursery. The price (6-10) may look prohibitive but the way he won the Met day Listed race – making most and seemingly not all out at the finish – was particularly impressive.

Delta Queen is favourite for the Capetown Noir Kenilworth Fillies Nursery after toying with the opposition on debut but Stuck On You (third to Erik The Red in a good field) is the one with the form in the book and accordingly she gets the vote.

By Michael Clower