Crème de la crème lines up in the Green Point Stakes
Charles Dickens is hot favourite, but KZN and Joburg visitors will test him.
Charles Dickens (centre) is the lead contender for the Green Point Stakes. Picture: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images
There are no flies on Cape Racing when it comes to marketing the product. But this week the PR team has no need to reach for the handbook of hyperbole – all they need do is mention that a certain three horses are opposing each other at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Charles Dickens, See It Again and Princess Calla contest the Grade 2 World Sports Betting Green Point Stakes over 1600m.
Racing fans will recognise the current elite of middle-to-long distance racing in South Africa and the meeting at Cape Town’s lavishly revamped racecourse offers a chance to see racehorses soon likely to be legends.
Yet it probably won’t be the last chance to catch these titans together as the Green Point is something of a preparatory race for the King’s Plate to come – and possibly also the Cape Town Met at the end of January.
Charles Dickens is a red-hot 9-20 favourite for Saturday’s race, because he looks most distance-suited and is racing on home turf. With nine wins and two seconds from 11 runs, including success in his 1400m warm-up outing in October, one cannot argue against the bookmakers’ assessment of trainer Candice Bass-Robinson’s superstar.
But See It Again is a special horse who has bested Charles Dickens before – on this course in the 2023 Cape Derby. However, that was over 2000m, which betted suited Michael Robert’s horse at that stage.
The visitor from KwaZulu-Natal also won his seasonal pipe-opener and odds of 11-2 look very generous.
Speaking of generous, 6-1 about Princess Calla will be snapped up by canny punters. This is the reigning Equus Horse of the Year, who made short work of a top field in last season’s finale Champions Cup at Greyville – which included See It Again, who was runner-up, and a couple of others she meets again here.
Sean Tarry’s extraordinary race mare could only manage second in her comeback run after a well-deserved break. But that followed a journey down from the Highveld – often problematic for horses – and was over a trip short of optimum for her and was at Durbanville, which can unbalance a big galloper.
Princess Calla’s regular partner Richard Fourie is in irresistible form at present and will be keen to extend his lead at the top of the national jockey championship log.
Challenging the top three are the likes of improver Royal Aussie, classy Rascallion and King’s Cup champion Al Muthana. They’re all good horses, but will have to be at their very best in the face of the best.
The Green Point is star-spangled, but the race meeting’s headline event is the 1600m Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas, an early sorting house for three-year-old talent from around the country. Tarry’s Mrs Geriatrix, who swept all before her in Joburg and Durban earlier this year, flopped in her Cape Town debut – similarly to stablemate Princess Calla. She’ll be trying to bounce back for her many fans but has a
wide-ish 13 draw and has local hot-shots Double Grand Slam and Rascova starting well to her inside.