It might sound sacrilege to say so but the unbeaten Run Fox Run could be worth opposing in the Champagne Stakes at Kenilworth tomorrow.
Brett Crawford warned earlier in the week that he would not risk the rising star if yesterday’s rain turns the ground soft but, even if it is not enough to keep her away, she could be vulnerable – and at yesterday’s 4-10 it makes sense to look elsewhere.
Lesedi La Rona may not be the most obvious on adjusted merit ratings – she comes out 5kg behind both Dynamic Diana and Canukeepitsecret – but she showed signs of fulfilling her two-year-old promise with a smooth win in a pinnacle last time and, highly relevantly, she made light of the good to soft ground. “She is back to her best,” confirms Candice Bass-Robinson. Her current 15-2 looks attractive.
Furthermore, while the favourite has won three of the last six runnings, the last three years have seen a succession of upsets with the winners being returned at 11-1, 25-1 and 8-1.
Glen Kotzen is the most successful trainer in this race with four winners and he is represented by the double-figure priced pair Too Phat To Fly and Ostinato. The latter has won twice when the word soft has appeared in the going description.
Only once in the past 15 years has the Champagne seen a smaller field than tomorrow’s nine but the six in the Final Fling is the smallest this century with Justin Snaith responsible for half the runners and Glen Kotzen (two) and Mrs Bass-Robinson the only other trainers represented.
Platinum Class is well-nigh unbackable at 2-7 but Richard Fourie’s mount is hard to oppose despite three of the last four favourites getting beaten. She comes out over three lengths better than the next highest-rated (stable companion Miss Katalin) and she has won in the soft. She was third in the Prix du Cap and the Olympic Duel and in the Ladies Mile last time she had Pearl Jam over a length back third and here she is 8kg better. Miss Katalin and Libra are also well held on that run.
If you are looking for a long shot then Coral Bay, the rank outsider at 22-1, just might be worth an interest. She appears to have completely lost her form but she is a Listed winner, she goes in the ground and Kotzen has won this race four times before.
BLOB The Durbanville meeting on Tuesday, July 30 has been switched to Kenilworth.
By Michael Clower