Don’t discount decent Charles Dickens

Meeting highlighted by likely R5-million Pick 6 pool.


Should one write off a horse on the basis of one run?

Going into the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes over 1600m, Charles Dickens was viewed as a near certainty in some quarters, but he started to drift in the betting, and it was clear all was not well on the day.

The race went to an impressive See It Again who beat At My Command by 1.75 lengths with Charles Dickens another 0.40-lengths back in third.

Charles Dickens sat at the rear of the field and when he produced his finishing burst even Piere Strydom on See It Again thought he would run second.

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But Charles Dickens couldn’t sustain the run and became one paced in the latter stages.

Tomorrow the pair will line up again at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth for “the one that really matters”, the Grade 1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate over 1600m.

On the basis of the last race, it is Michael Roberts-trained See It Again that tops the boards at 9-10 with Charles Dickens on offer at 13-10. Cape Guineas winner Snow Pilot is third favourite at 16-1 and after that, to use a popular phrase, you can write your own ticket. But it would not be wise to overlook Charles Dickens just yet as Bass-Robinson explained.

“He needed the run. He was definitely not at his best,” she said yesterday.

“He only had one run since the Gold Challenge (on 10 June) and then there was a long break to the Green Point Stakes. I knew he was going in underdone.

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“You could see he was hanging last time, but since then I’ve put a lot of work into him. I needed him at his best for this race – and he is at his best for Saturday!” she said.

He is a proven great miler, so fit and well over 1600m, Charles Dickens remains the runner to beat.

However, Strydom commented that last season See It Again was still a baby, but last time he felt like a real racehorse and has improved substantially. Aldo Domeyer will be back on Charles Dickens and it looks like racing fans will be in for an absolute cracker.

Exactas on these two is undoubtedly the bet of the day. The other Grade 1 race tomorrow is the Cartier Paddock Stakes over 1800m which is a weight-forage event for fillies and mares.

There is a R1-million carryover kicking off the Pick 6 tomorrow, and with a likely pool of R5 million Princess Calla is likely to prove a popular banker for many punters.

Certainly, under the race conditions, she is the best-weighted runner and is at least 5kg better off with the balance of the field.

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She is the current Equus Horse Of The Year and is undoubtedly the runner to beat. But as Bass-Robinson points out, the race comprises a few very good fillies who have not run against one another.

This current crop of three-year old fillies looks very useful and it is a pity Mike de Kock was unable to travel with Gimme A Nother as she would have added another dimension to this field.

But De Kock does rate Silver Sanctuary highly and for Beach Bomb to run her down the way she did in the Cape Fillies Guineas, the daughter of Lancaster Bomber must be highly capable.

Add Red Palace’s superb second behind Snow Pilot in the Cape Guineas into the mix and there are two, as described by trainer Bass- Robinson, “very good fillies” that need to be looked at for Pick 6 purposes.

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