Bela-Bela looks hard to beat
BELA-BELA looks set to win the second Gr 1 of her career in the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes over 1 800m at Kenilworth on Saturday, but beyond her it looks to be one of the most competitive renewals in recent times and none of her eleven opponents can be written off.
Bela-Bela showed in her seasonal reappearance in a Conditions Plate over 1 400m she retains all of her considerable class.
On Saturday from a good draw of six, in the supporting feature to the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, she will be hard to beat under Anton Marcus over her likely ideal trip.
Safe Harbour is the shortest priced three-year-old in the race. In the Gr 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas she was cut down late by Just Sensual.
This long-striding daughter of Gr 1 SA Derby and Gr 1 Daily News 2 200 winner Elusive Fort should enjoy the step up in trip on pedigree and seems to have thrived in Cape Town.
She would have had enough time to recover from her first two Cape Town starts, which included victory in the R2,5million Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes over 1 400m.
Weichong Marwing keeps the ride and they have a plum draw of two.
Sail jumped from a wide draw of 13 in the Cape Fillies Guineas and was taken into a handy position.
She was overtaken by two or three in the straight, but was fighting back at the line, giving the impression she would stay this trip.
Her dam Cutty Sark, by Fort Wood, won over 1 400m and produced the decent sprinter by Seventh Rock, Rock On Baby. However, Sail’s sire Philanthropist did win a Gr 3 over 1 900m. Unfortunately, Sail has another tough draw of ten.
Final Judgement by Judpot had to be eased when squeezed out between the rail and another horse in the Cape Fillies Guineas and she then shifted outward which cost her more ground. However, she then used long strides to make up ground and under the circumstances finished a decent 4,35 length eighth. She has the same draw of seven here.
Whose That Girl
Whose That Girl by Gitano Hernando was running on well from near last in the Cape Fillies Guineas when she was completely taken out.
She still managed to come back to run a 5,35 length tenth. Three weeks later she converted favouritism when well weighted in a Graduation Plate over 1 600m, running on well again, so should get the trip.
She is well drawn in four with in-form MJ Byleveld up, and is likely better than her 90 merit rating suggests.
Among the older horses Chevauchee, an Australian-bred by Hugh Chaparral, has always possessed a lot of class.
Her career has had one or two interruptions and she now gets a chance at last to prove how good she is. On pedigree and running style she should get this trip. She failed to win the Listed Jet Master Stakes over 1 600m last time in a small field, despite officially being 0,5kg better off with the 90 merit rated winner Fifty Cents.
However, the latter was subsequently supplemented for the Queen’s Plate. Furthermore, Chevauchee was likely too handy in the Jet Master Stakes and now has her third run after a layoff. She is likely to be dropped out from a wide draw and her supporters will be hoping to see her produce a strong finish under Greg Cheyne and defy her 98 merit rating.
Tahini finished a close third in the Gr 2 Ipi Tombi Challenge in her penultimate start over 1 600m at Turffontein when staying on late and earlier had a victory over Cape Fillies Guineas third-placed Querari Falcon.
The form of the Ipi Tombe has been franked and being by Silvano she should be improving.
In her first Cape start over the Paddock Stakes course and distance she wasn’t disgraced finishing 5,55 lengths behind the classy Whisky Baron when receiving just 0,5kg.
This small filly is drawn well in five and S’Manga Khumalo is up, but she will have to step up again.
Nightingale was a touch unlucky in last season’s Woolavington 2 000, but still managed a strong-finishing 1,85 length third.
Bela-Bela probably won that race easier than the margin suggests, but Nightingale will be improving being by Silvano and looks to have enjoyed a good preparation.
She finished well with long strides for second in the Gr 3 Victress Stakes over the 1 800m Paddock Stakes course and distance last time out.
She now has her third run after a layoff from a tricky draw of nine. However, stable jockey Grant van Niekerk has opted to ride another Silvano filly Silver Mountain, who needs little introduction and has been priced up second favourite.
She could be a big threat from a draw of three as she should start enjoying this trip this season.
The Victress Stakes was won by the honest Royal Air Force filly Goodtime Girl and Gavin Lerena will help her overcome a high draw of eleven.
Star Express finished 1,35 lengths behind third-placed BelaBela in last year’s Paddock Stakes and in her first run for ten months last time she finished just 0,4 lengths behind Bela-Bela over 1 400m at level weights, a fine effort. However, she obviously hasn’t enjoyed an ideal preparation. Icy Fire was staying on in the Victress for a 3,25 length fifth but looks held.
The prestigious race is important for stud value and will provide an intriguing curtain raiser for the Queen’s Plate.