Horses | Horse News
The chunky Pick 6 is on the Saturday meeting of the two-day L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Festival – which kicks off on Friday (8 January) with a card that also lifts the pulse rate.
The Queen’s Plate itself, Race 7 and Leg 4 of the Pick 6, is a cracking affair: a small field of eight loaded with top-class talent. Durban July winner Belgarion might be a 12-10 favourite, but it is hard to select him as an exotic-bet banker – purely because of the quality of the opposition.
No-one can discount former Queen’s Plate champion Rainbow Bridge (3-1), while Do It Again (9-2) is one of the best horses to have ever raced in South Africa and is irresistible on his day. Cirillo (6-1) is a lion heart who seldom runs badly at top level and is overdue a big victory.
Even longer-odds runners Silver Operator, Sovereign Spirit and Jet Dark have arguments in their favour and the only “no-hoper” is Hurricane Harry – included to ensure a brisk pace for trainer Justin Snaith’s other three candidates, perhaps specifically Belgarion.
For Pick 6 punters with deep pockets, seven inclusions will be the way to go. Four or five is the budget option.
Another “field” selection could be a prudent choice in Race 5, Leg 2, the Glorious Goodwood Premier Trophy, in which seven runners go to post.
An ante-post market price of 13-20 looks a tad too short for Golden Ducat, who, smart as he is, takes on serious talent in this Grade 2 contest.
If the field selection works out too expensive, bettors will find it hard to make Golden Ducat a banker and will be tempted to include in-form Nexus (22-10).
So, where’s the banker?
Well, the phenomenal Summer Pudding is putting her nine-time unbeaten record on the line in the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes and an old saying in racing advises the punter to always stick with a serial winner.
Summer Pudding goes back to challenging her own gender after her Summer Cup heroics in open company, so, on the face of it, she should continue her winning ways. However, looming against her are last year’s Paddock winner Queen Supreme, who has a superb record – especially in Cape Town.
There’s another option for a banker, in Race 9, Leg 6, a humble maiden plate and a big comedown from the fireworks of some of the preceding contests. Justin Snaith-trained Warrior looks likely to prevail over fairly modest competition.
If one bankers both Summer Pudding and Warrior, it frees up funds for wider choices elsewhere, where upsets seem more likely.
On Friday, Celtic Sea looks a shoo-in in the Grade 2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes (Race 7, Leg 5 in the day’s Pick 6).
Leg 1: 1, 2
Leg 2: Field
Leg 3: 1, 5
Leg 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8
Leg 7: 4, 5, 7, 8, 9
Leg 8: 2
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