Our Prized Jewel may well have the potential to beat the first-time-out-of-the-maidens bogey in the Hospitality & Venue Booking Handicap at Durbanville tomorrow.
This Brett Crawford-trained Ridgemont filly is bred to be a star – by five-time Group 1 winner Duke Of Marmalade, she is a half-sister to Cape Fillies Guineas scorer Silver Mountain and to the brilliantly fast but temperamental Cloth Of Cloud who won the SA Nursery – and her home reputation preceded her on debut. She started at odds-on, raced prominently and led two furlongs out to score by a length and three-quarters in what looked a reasonable maiden – the three immediately behind her had all been placed on their most recent starts.
“She has got ability and I like her,” enthused Anton Marcus. “She hadn’t been tuned up at home.” However he did add that she might take another run to learn what racing is all about.”
That last point could make her vulnerable against this much more experienced opposition but she has been given a chance by the handicappers. They put her in on a mark of 79 which is more or less what she ran to and makes no allowance for the amount by which she can be expected to have come on.
Greg Cheyne, also retained by Ridgemont, takes over from Marcus and his mount looks reasonably priced at 2-1. This favourite could have most to fear from the other runner in the dark green, blue sleeves, white cap colours – Proclaimer, trained by the in-form Candice Bass-Robinson and ridden by the under-rated Anthony Andrews.
This one has put up two really good efforts in her last two starts, is well drawn and looks a big price at 7-1.
The betting, although arguably not the form book, suggests that Mon Cherie and Windsor Beat are bigger threats. Both are 9-2 chances. The former has to give weight all round and was hanging throughout the final furlong last time when Windsor Beat was three-quarters of a length behind and is now half a kilo better. Queen’s Club (6-1) was well beaten on her last three starts and there were no obvious excuses for her two most recent efforts.
But one worthy of consideration is the Andre Nel runner Academic Gold who is also first time out of the maidens. She gets in off 78 but her negative is her kiss-of-death draw.
Nippy Sweetie flopped when hot favourite on Cape Derby day and it is significant that Crawford turns her out again so soon. The hint should not be ignored in race one while Tostada looks another for Cheyne in the next.
By Michael Clower