He has been an expensive horse to follow of late but it may pay to be give South Kensington another chance. He won three successive races last year but since then, although an ultra-consistent place getter, Vaughan Marshall’s charge not been back to the winner’s enclosure.
The problem horses have for running consistently well is they don’t have their merit ratings cut and they are relying on horses who have beaten them before to come up to their weight level in order for them to be competitive again.
What could count in South Kensington’s favour is a change of jockey. MJ Byleveld has ridden him in most of his starts and with no disrespect to the youngster, who is probably still smarting after having Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July pulled from under his feet, sometime the old expression that “a change is as good as a holiday” could well prove true.
Greg Cheyne might just pick up something Byleveld could not and could turn defeat into victory.
Another hard-working runner is Riaan van Reenen-trained Shishangeni, who ran a decent race behind fast-improving It Is Written last time. He drifted in the betting from 4-1 to 14-1 and only faded late before going down 3.85 lengths.
He is quite a versatile horse in that he has won over distances from 1200m to 1800m so this 1400m event should be ideal for him. Last time he was ridden by 4kg claiming apprentice Divan Neethling but this time he has experienced Karl Neisius aboard.
The younger set are represented by Vice Admiral and Arachne. The Justin-Snaith-trained runner has been racing in the Winter Series and has found Power King too good in both the Winter Guineas and Winter Classic, both Grade 3 races over 1600m and 1800m respectively.
This time Neethling takes the ride and takes 4kg off his back which means Vice Admiral will be carrying just 52kg.
Adam Marcus saddles Arachne and he is expecting a decent showing from the three-year-old son of Greys Inn. “It could be a little short but he will be ridden by Xavier Carstens and with him claiming his 2.5kg allowance, Arachne will have just 49.5kg on his back,” said Marcus.
“He must be in with a big chance off that weight.”
Repertoire also has to come under consideration but if one takes a line through It Is Written, Bill Prestage’s runner will have a bit to find on Arachne.