The Gr 2 Diadem Stakes over 1200m will be the headliner at Kenilworth on Saturday and it has attracted a top class field, although some of the contenders might be using it as a springboard into the Gr 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championships.
The Sean Tarry-trained Trip To Heaven will be hard to beat, especially considering this is his chief target for the Cape Summer Of Champions Season. Tarry believes the 1000m trip of the Cape Flying is too short for the brilliant five-year-old Trippi gelding, whose optimum trip is probably 1400m. He does hold an entry in the Cape Flying, but is not a certainty to line up. He has a merit rating of 117 which makes him officially the best weighted horse in the Diadem as he only has to carry a 1kg Gr 2 penalty as opposed to the 2kg Gr 1 penalty allotted to all of Talktothestars, Red Ray and Gulf Storm.
Trip To Heaven beat Talktothestars by 2,4 lengths over 1160m at Turffontein on Sansui Summer Cup day in the Citizen Merchants. He is now only 1,5kg worse off, so on paper should confirm the placings. Furthermore, he has an exceptional turn of foot and the tough 1200m of the Kenilworth track should be more down his alley than the fast 1160m of Turffontein.
The 118 merit rated Talktothestars is officially only 0,5kg under sufferance with Trip To Heaven. He is the reigning Equus Champion Sprinter and should give a good account of himself, considering he was an easy winner of the Gr 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint over the tough 1200m of Scottsville when carrying topweight under handicap conditions. On the other hand he did finish unplaced in two runs over the Kenilworth 1200m last season. As usual he will not be wearing shoes on Saturday.
Gr 1 Mercury Sprint winner Red Ray is only 1kg under sufferance with Trip To Heaven. He has shown in the past to be capable of running well fresh, although he does seem to need a run to bring him back to his absolute peak. This will be his first run since winning The Mercury six months ago.
Gulf Storm will have a good chance as it will be his third run after a rest over an ideal trip and he was unlucky last time in the Listed Southeaster Sprint over 1100m, which was also a handicap meaning he had to carry 62kg. He is merit rated 110, which puts him 4,5kg under sufferance with Trip To Heaven. However, he was also 4,5kg under sufferance with the best-weighted Carry On Alice when winning last year’s Cape Flying.
Search Party is the unknown factor as he beat two Gr 1 winners, Real Princess and Gulf Storm, over 1000m in November despite only receiving 2kg and 4,5kg respectively. He followed up by winning the Gr 2 Betting World Cape Merchants, a handicap over the Kenilworth 1200m, when 0,5kg under sufferance off a 96 merit rating. He is now merit rated 103, so officially has a tough task, especially considering he has to carry a 1kg Gr 2 penalty. He is officially 7kg under sufferance with Trip To Heaven.
Seven-year-old Tevez loves the Kenilworth 1200m and showed he has lost none of his edge when winning the Listed South Easter Sprint last time over 1100m with 60,5kg on his back last time out. He carries no penalties and is officially only 1,5kg under sufferance with Trip To Heaven.
Captain Alfredo improved to run a 2,5 length third in the Merchants when giving Search Party five lengths, but like the latter has a tough task at the weights here even off his 107 merit rating.
Victorious Jay was fourth in the Merchants so on paper has a very tough task. However, in his favour is he is not fully exposed over sprints, having raced over further for most of last season, and this is his third run after a six month layoff. He could be the dark horse.
Exelero, La Favourari and Line Break are fully exposed in sprints and would be shock winners, while Brilliant Crimson and Purple Mountains, who are dropping back in trips, have hopeless tasks at the weights.
By David Thiselton