Umkhomazi Stakes winner African Warrior heads the 16 declared for the Cape Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday – and Dean Kannmeyer is convinced that Keagan de Melo’s mount is fully recovered from the muscle problem that was found to be responsible for his flop when starting favourite in last month’s Concorde Cup.
Kannemeyer, who will be bidding for his sixth success in this Kenilworth classic, said yesterday: “He tweaked a muscle in his hindquarters and as a result he was slightly short behind but, after two or three sessions with the physio, he was 100% again. It never set him back in his fitness – he was only off for about five days – and he is back in tiptop shape. He had a good workout on the cinders on Monday and he is ready for his race on Saturday.”
African Warrior is the highest rated horse in the race but the one slight doubt the trainer has is whether he will get the trip. “On pedigree (by Vercingetorix out of a Jet Master mare) there is no reason why he shouldn’t but whether he will really get a genuine mile is a question mark at the back of my mind. He has a hell of a turn of foot.”
The gelding’s chance has been boosted by Sean Tarry’s decision not to run Dingaans winner Shango (the original favourite) and by Mike de Kock not declaring Frosted Gold who won the Graham Beck Stakes. De Kock has won the Cape Guineas five times but he will have no runner in Saturday’s race.
However Tarry, who has yet to win it, runs four headed by Durban Golden Horseshoe winner Eden Roc (Gavin Lerena) and including last Saturday’s CTS Ready To Run winner Pure State who has been raised 17 points for that valuable win. He will be ridden by jockey-of-the-moment Craig Zackey.
Brett Crawford, successful with Elusive Gold six years ago, has declared three including Concorde Cup winner King Of Gems (Aldo Domeyer) plus the two reserves. Justin Snaith, who won with Solo Traveller in 2010, also has three starters with Richard Fourie opting for Sachdev and Bernard Fayd’Herbe, hoping for Guineas victory number four, on Wild Coast.
Vaughan Marshall, whose five wins include two of the last three runnings, is represented by both Cape Classic winner Silver Operator (Anton Marcus) and Cane Lime ‘n Soda (M.J. Byleveld).
Glen Kotzen put Green Point fourth Pack Leader into the Sun Met at yesterday’s R9 900 (plus VAT) supplementary entry stage while Snaith has already declared Do It Again (Fourie) and Bunker Hunt (Fayd’Herbe) for the February 1 showpiece
Pack Leader was one of the few Green Point runners whose rating has been changed by the handicappers. He went up two points to 116, Undercover Agent (fifth) was dropped three points to 127 while Head Honcho (seventh) came down by the same amount to 126. The winner Vardy was left unchanged on 128. Stable companion Missisippi Burning was raised 19 to a new mark of 116 for her triumph in the WSB Cape Fillies Guineas.
By Michael Clower