Front And Centre is on a recovery mission in the Vasco Da Gama Prix Du Cap at Kenilworth on Saturday after inexplicably flopping in the Bidvest Majorca.
Last season’s WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner started third favourite for the Met day Grade 1 but finished with only three behind her. The course vet reported that Anton Marcus’s mount came back with abrasions on her left hind, suggesting that she had a bit of a rough passage, but Brett Crawford is not so sure.
He said yesterday: “We didn’t find much wrong. She just seemed to have no gate speed, she was never really travelling well and she produced no finishing effort.”
It was the first time that the four-year-old had raced with blinkers and, although she has been declared to wear them again, Crawford is in two minds about fitting them a second time.
The bookmakers seem to think that Front And Centre will run considerably better this time and most have her favourite at 2-1 with Santa Clara (two and a half lengths in front of Front And Centre when ninth in the Majorca) vying for second favouritism – at around 6-1 – with Cartier Sceptre third Golden Chance.
Crawford runs three in the ARF Commemorative Cape Derby in a bid to win the race for the third time following Jackson (2012) and Edict Of Nantes three years ago. Aldo Domeyer’s mount King Of Gems is the highest rated, and the shortest priced, of the trio and he wears a tongue tie for the second successive race.
“He makes a bit of a noise and we thought the tongue tie would assist him,” explained the Philippi trainer. “He has been doing well, he looks well and his work has been good.”
The Concorde Cup winner is a 17-2 chance with Viva Rio hot favourite at 17-10 ahead of the Justin Snaith pair Sachdev (5-1) and Silver Host (11-2).
By Michael Clower