Strathdon can come out on top in the new-look Kenilworth Cup at the Cape Town course tomorrow.
The Justin Snaith runner is at six the oldest horse in the race but that is no disadvantage in events over as far as this two miles – and his record is a good one despite having found it hard to win at one stage in his career. His success in the Woolavington in November was his first for almost two years but, even so, he has won seven of his 29 starts.
Richard Fourie’s mount was yesterday morning an easy-to-back 22-10 joint favourite with O’Noth who finished over half a length in front of him when second to Snapscan in the New Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers. But M.J. Byleveld’s mount is now 2kg worse off and that is the equivalent of four lengths over this trip.
However it’s not as straightforward as that. The first five finished in a heap in the Met day race and they were covered by less than a length. This casts serious doubts about the value of the form.
The Kenilworth Cup used to be a conditions race run in November but last season it was switched to its present February date and turned into a handicap. This has gone against Tap O’Noth who faces a massive task under 62kg but he has a touch of class (remember, he won the Cape Guineas) and he stays remarkably well for a horse who was high class over a mile.
The lurker in the pack is Dynasty’s Blossom. Despite being ridden by Ryan Moore, she found all sorts of trouble in the Western Cape Stayers and was continually held up for a clear run in the straight. Add to that the fact she pulled hard in the early and middle stages of the race and it is truly remarkable that she managed to finish as close as she did – less than three and a half lengths behind the winner.
Corne Orffer, who rode her when she was a close second in last year’s New Turf Carriers, will ensure a much clearer run. She finished a length and a quarter in front of Strathdon that day and probably rates his main danger. She has already been backed from 9-2 to 7-2.
Cedar Man (12-1) is the only other handicapped level with the top three but, as he has been off since the WSB East Cape Derby last May, he surely cannot win.
Swift Surprise is the Snaith second string. He lost ground at the start – as well as a hind shoe -in the Met day race. He might just run into a place although, astonishingly, most of the early money has been for him and he has been slashed from 9-1 to 4-1. The remaining three are too much under sufferance to warrant consideration by the serious punter.
By Michael Clower