There’s a look of serious intent about trainer Brett Crawford’s excursion to Fairview on Friday. He ships three horses from his Philippolis stables and could head home with three winning cheques in his sky rocket.
The primary objective is the East Cape Nursery (Listed) and the weapon of choice is colt Alpine Challenge, who has run once and won once – in style. The son of What A Winter was blooded in mid-February, was not heavily punted, but walloped his opposition over 1000m.
He can only have matured and strengthened since then, so looks a decent bet over 200m more and at a, theoretically, weaker centre. The pundit can’t oppose Alpine Challenge, but the youngster does face a tougher challenge than one might expect in PE.
Local training titans, Alan Greef and Gavin Smith, field three runners each and won’t be keen to see the big prize disappearing down the highway south.
Smith’s Cruise Control won his last race – on this turf – by more than eight lengths, so there’s clearly something there. Indeed, Smith rated him good enough to take to Cape Town for the Juvenile Stakes on Met day, when he started favourite but was upstaged by Greeff’s less-fancied Cliff Top.
And Cliff Top is lining up here, too. And all the other PE horses in the field have much to commend them.
Ultimately, though, Crawford’s prodigy might be too strong.
1: 11 Tufaan, 4 Echoes Of Winter, 7 Ladyhawke, 10 Sugarberry
2: 9 Honest Quest, 1 Abayyan, 2 Maradiva, 5 Dawn Raider
3: 1 La Vida, 7 Miss United States, 3 Sailaway With Me, 2 Klaserie
4: 5 Line Of Duty, 16 Wangan Midnight, 12 Il Lunga, 14 Narcos
5: 2 Grazinginthegrass, 6 Tarantino, 5 Legitimate, 4 Somerset Maugham
6: 1 American Landing, 7 Ellis Island, 8 Bold Strike, 1 Assured
7: 1 Alpine Challenge, 3 Cruise Control, 2 Cliff Top, 4 Forest Spy
8: 6 Storm Chaser, 12 Emperors Decree, 3 Herrin, 11 Brass Bell
Pick 6: 1 x 3,5,6,12,14,16,17 x 2,5,6 x 1,2,7,8,14 x 1,3 x 1,3,4,6,7,11,12 (R1470)
PA: 1,9 x 1 x 5 x 2,6 x 1,7,8 x 1,3 x 3,6,11,12 (R96)