There are a lot of contenders for top honours and this race would have been easier to decipher if it was run over 1400m. Two Justin Snaith runners – Diva’s Daughter and Highly Decorated – would be top of the list at that distance but neither has been able to win a race over 1600m.
The interesting fact about Port Elizabeth racing is they are not scared to set a taxing pace up front, unlike Cape Town where most jockeys seem quite content to coast along at what has been named the “Cape Crawl”.
Highly Decorated has raced against some of the leading fillies in the country, including the likes of Hammie’s Hooker, Jet Set Go, Double Whammy and Cold As Ice. Perhaps her last run could be the best pointer towards the winner of this event.
Racing over 1400m at this track Highly Decorated held on to beat Coco by 0.50 lengths. The winner shifted inwards in the closing stages and carried the runner-up with her but it was not enough to have overturned on an objection.
The extra 200m will strongly favour the runner-up, and despite being 0.5kg worse off, Coco should prevail. This Tara Laing-trained runner is perfectly drawn at No 3 and will be ridden by in-form jockey Raymond Danielson.
Purely because of her class, one has to respect Highly Decorated. She has a top jockey in Richard Fourie in the irons and jumps from barrier No 6.
Nonki Poo is a bit of an unknown. Trained by Paul Reeves in the Western Cape this five-year-old mare is a five-time winner, three of which have come over 1600m. Two runs back she scored a two-length victory over Icy Winter Air in a MR 80 Handicap for fillies and mares over this distance. She was beaten eight lengths by Abbey Creek last time but was reported to have raced short behind.
When things go well for her she is a useful performer and Nonki Poo needs to be included in all exotic bets.