Justin Snaith introduces a pair of potentially high class two-year-olds at Kenilworth today and, despite certain reservations on the part of their trainer, it just might be worth siding with both of them.
General Franco, a R4 million CTS sale topper by wonder horse Frankel out of a Kingmambo mare from the family of Pilsudksi, has already been backed from 22-10 to 14-10 for the opening Maiden Juvenile Plate while the dogs have been barking about the Captain Al filly Amy Johnson who appeals at 9-2 for the fillies race 35 minutes later.
“They are both exciting babies but they have got to go out there and prove it,” says Snaith. “I don’t think General Franco is a 1 000m horse and whether Amy Johnson can win over the trip first time up is also a hard ask.
“General Franco is a beautiful individual and is everything I hoped he would turn into. We will give him a little bit of a chance early on – I want him to settle and train on to go round the turn – but if he fires up at the end I think he will be in the shake-up. Indeed I will be disappointed if he isn’t.”
Snaith also runs the more experienced Shinnecock (22-10) – “He has had two decent runs and is very quick.” However he was beaten at odds-on on both his starts so punters may fight shy of him.
Fighter (8-1) showed promise first time and Paul Reeves says: “He has his work cut out but he will run a nice race.”
S’Manga Khumalo rides in the first three races for Joey Ramsden and 9-1 chance Stormin Norman (a R550 000 Var colt from the family of Horse Chesnut) can be expected to go well. Riding arrangements suggest that 7-1 newcomer Chaac (a R250 000 Soft Falling Rain) is preferred to fellow newcomer Three Two Charlie – “Chaac is a nice horse but he might be run off his feet over 1 000m,” fears Candice Bass-Robinson.
Most of the money so far in the fillies race has been for the Vaughan Marshall R500 000 Captain Al Mirage (backed from 7-2 to 18-10 with WSB) but Amy Johnson might just be good enough. “There is something about her and she could have that X factor,” says her trainer. “She is going to go close and, if she is as good as we think she is, she will be impressive.”
But don’t ignore Sailing Ship despite her 10-1 price. Candice Bass-Robinson says she could be ready enough “if the 1 000m does not prove too quick.” The betting also points to Ibra (33-10) even though she made a noise first time and was scratched with a dirty trach wash 17 days ago.
Drama Queen appeals in the fillies winners’ race (2.40pm) and the fact that 5-2 favourite Heaven’s Embrace (race six) is Anton Marcus’s only ride of the day is a tip in itself.
By Michael Clower