If Just Sensual’s merit rating is correct, Joey Ramsden’s three-year-old filly will give Bela-Bela a run for her money in the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over 1600m at Greyville tomorrow.
The handicappers have given Just Sensual a rating of 109, identical to that of year-older Bela-Bela. She achieved that rating when winning the Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas last December and has done li le wrong since.
However, that means the handicappers believe Just Sensual is a length superior to the highest-rated three-year-old colt currently in training in the country – July fancy Edict Of Nantes – and that seems unlikely.
Whether the colts are underrated or her merit rating is a bit high is a question that will be answered when this Grade 1 race is run. It may be a combination of both, but one thing’s for certain, trainer Justin Snaith’s popular and lightly raced grey filly Bela- Bela has earned her rating.
She has two Grade 1 wins to her credit and has not been disgraced in any of her races against males, including finishing a 2.65-length sixth behind The Conglomerate in last year’s July.
She was a bit disappointing in the Sun Met in January, but there is a school of thought that in spite of her Woolavingon 2000 win last year, she is better over distances below 2000m. She is certainly effective over this course and distance and jockey Anthony Delpech has ridden her often.
She has had two warm-up races in Durban this winter, finding the race over all too quickly in a 1200m sprint feature and then finishing strongly for third behind Captain America in the Gold Challenge over this course and distance last time out. This will be her peak run and Delpech is likely to keep her handier than in her last start.
Stablemate Gimme Six should battle to beat Just Sensual on weight-for-age terms but has a strong place chance. She finished third behind Just Sensual in a 1400m feature at Kenilworth in February. She has recorded two wins and a second since and is in piping-hot form.
Place chances go to Bella Sonata, Chevauchee, Bi Pot and She’s A Giver as well as badly drawn Star Express and Polyphonic.