Mercurana aiming for gold

PUBLISHED: 03 March 2020

Mercurana (right) Liesl King

Mercurana has been raised a massive 20 points (10kg) for his shock 45-1 win in last Saturday’s Kenilworth Cup.  His new 97 merit rating should give the Candice Bass-Robinson four-year-old a good chance of getting into the DStv Gold Vase and the eLan Gold Cup.

Swift Surprise, headed almost on the line, has gone up four to a new mark of 95 but Troop The Colour, who earned only R7 500 for finishing fourth, has been hit with a 13 point-rise to 80.

Strathdon (third) and fifth-placed Cedar Man have been left unchanged as has top weight Tap O’Noth who would surely have finished a lot closer than last – admittedly only beaten just over three and a half lengths – had he not been repeatedly denied a clear run. Last year’s Gold Cup winner Dynasty’s Blossom, who made a lot of the running before finishing sixth, is the only one of the eight runners to have been dropped and she comes down from 108 to 106.

Mercurana (right) Liesl King
Mercurana (right) Liesl King

Durbanville, forced to switch to Kenilworth on the morning of the racemeeting a week ago, has been given the go-ahead to resume on Saturday.

Racecourse manager Dean Diedericks said yesterday: “We are fine for Saturday and we could do with a few drops of rain.” None is forecast but the problem area – 50m from the winning post and in the centre of the track – is now back to normal.

The MR 78 1 000m handicap had only five acceptors when declarations closed at 11.00m and has been scrapped. The fillies 1 250m maiden and the 1 400m MR94 handicap have each attracted only six runners but the rest of the card has held up well. Candice Bass-Robinson has the most runners with ten while Justin Snaith has nine and Brett Crawford eight. Richard Fourie and Greg Cheyne are the only jockeys with a ride in every race but Sandile Mbhele and Corne Orffer each have seven mounts.

King Of Gems, winner of the Concorde Cup in November but only eighth in the Cape Guineas and last but one in the Cape Derby, has been diagnosed with a wind problem and is to have an operation.

Stable companion Front And Centre goes to Durban even though it was thought that the 2018 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner wasn’t at her best there last year. “She will continue racing until the end of the season and she will probably just have two races – in the Tibouchina (June 13) and the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province on July day,” Crawford reports. She started second favourite for last year’s Garden Province but finished only seventh.

Ready Steady Go could also be making the Great Trek after running such a good race in the Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes ten days ago. Despite being continually held up for a clear run and having to be switched, the 40-1 shot was only beaten a length and a quarter in fourth.

Michelle Rix said: “We decided to run him fresh, he flew up from last and was unlucky. We weren’t planning to send him to Durban but we will now look at the KZN season with him. We will talk to the owner (Francis Carruthers) and, if he agrees, we will send the horse.”


The estimated 3 700 crowd at Kenilworth’s Prawn Festival meeting consumed a total of 2.1 tonnes of prawns. That works out at just over half a kilo per person. Interestingly Kenilworth’s events supremo Clinton Theys reveals that it was the racecourse which footed the bill and then sold the prawns to the public at cost. He is now trying to come up with a similar promotion for Durbanville – not prawns but something (he doesn’t yet know what) that is likely to be just as appealing to the general public.

By Michael Clower