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By Mike Moon

Horse racing correspondent


Is Princess Calla’s crown looking a wee bit wobbly?

Pick 6 puzzle worth R5m on LKP day is a tricky one to crack.


Princess Calla will be many a punter’s choice of banker for an expected R5-million Pick 6 at Kenilworth on Saturday – L’Ormarins King’s Plate day.

The reigning Equus Horse of the Year is likely to start in the red when she contests the Grade 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes over 1800m – the main supporting feature race on the card and Leg 3 of the Pick 6.

Racing fans are delighted that the indomitable six-year-old mare has been granted another season of competition, and this is one of the primary targets that trainer Sean Tarry and owner Mario Ferreira have lined up to add lustre to her already glittering racing record.

Much is in her favour on Saturday: an ideal trip in a weight-for age event, a third outing after a break, a good draw in a small field and in-form jockey Richard Fourie pulling the strings.

And yet…

A niggly doubt creeps in as the queen of the turf is several months on from her majestic victory in the Champions Cup at Greyville in July and some of us can attest to the capability-eroding nature of advancing age.

Also, Princess Calla has not seemed her usual dominant self in two preparatory races in Cape Town since arriving from Tarry’s Highveld base.

As much as we might crave a surefire banker to bolster an assault on a chunky Pick 6 pool, the sensible option is to include Princess Calla’s principal challengers – two crackerjack three-year-olds in Beach Bomb and Red Palace, both trained by Candice Bass-Robinson.

Pick 6 legs

Some of the other Pick 6 legs are mighty tricky, for sure, but these two fillies have too much lurking potential to be ignored.
The place to go narrow might be in the headline event, the LKP, which shapes up as a two-horse race.

The Pick 6 kicks off in Race 4, the Grade 2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes, another WFA clash for females, but this one a 1200m sprint.

Here punter focus will be on Tarry-trained Grade 1 winner Mrs Geriatrix, who was unbeaten in six starts before venturing down-country and tasting defeat in the Western Cape Fillies Championship and the Cape Fillies Guineas. Indeed, her Cape sojourn mirrors Princess Calla’s thus far.

Bass-Robinson again provides the main threat, this time with three fillies: Golden Hostess, Winter Cloud and October Morn, with the latter having drawn a lot of ante-post betting interest.

Glen Kotzen runner Rascova cannot be discounted, nor can Justin Snaith’s in-form Kwinta’s Light and raiders from Gqeberha, Joburg and Durban.

There’s a high-quality line-up for the Grade 2 Anthonij Rupert Wines Premier Trophy, so most exotic permutations will go fairly wide there, too. Much the same goes for the final two legs of the Pick 6.

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