Some welcome rain has fallen in Cape Town this week, but the expected so going only serves to make a card comprising six Maidens and three lower level Handicaps a little more challenging.
One who does make a lot of appeal is Chill Baby Chill, rather aptly in the lingering winter temperatures. This Australian-bred filly caught the eye a few weeks ago after an eight-month break, making good late progress to be beaten 0.75 lengths by progressive youngster Ma Forte on similar yielding ground.
That was over the 1000m she goes here, which as she shows plenty of toe and fades over further, may well turn out to be her optimum distance. Being out of a daughter of great Aussie sprint champion Choisir that should hardly come as a surprise.
Dan Katz’s charge now lines up against males in the eighth race, but even for a lowly MR 64 Handicap, this is a rather thin looking race. The majority lack recent form to inspire any confidence, and while far from a good thing, our selection should at worst have strong Eachway prospects.
Recent Maiden winner Spring Gold is one who could challenge. While he took 12 starts to reach the number one box, he shows good pace, won on so going, and makes his handicap debut with a reasonable looking mark of 61. He should be competitive.
Incidentally he did make a racetrack appearance last weekend, only to be declared a non- runner when he reared as the gates opened, causing the saddle to slip, and his jockey to lose both stirrup irons.
Bottom weight Astrapi could have shock potential. He was beaten less than three lengths at MR72 level a week ago, and being well under sufferance his MR was adjusted up nine points to 52. His weight here remains the same though, which on paper makes him well in by 2kg.
He seems best over 1200m, and consistency is hardly his forte, but if repeating that effort he will be right in the thick of things.
Strongest race of the day is a mere FM 76 also over the minimum trip, and here the lightly raced Ahoy Me Matey tries the trip for the first time, and should go very close. She has already won making all at FM 88 level on so going, and was then tried in the Grade 3 Champagne Stakes, where after breaking through the stall gates prrace she found it all a bit too much.
She does face a competitive bunch of decent sprint fillies however, with the exciting looking three-year-old Public Prosecutor standing out. She has been rested for three months after bolting up second time out, and Candice Bass-Robinson probably has bigger things than this in mind later into the season.
Ma Forte and State Ballet are both 1000m specialists and also deserve the maximum respect in a competitive little contest.