The Grade 1 Cape Guineas over 1600m will be run at Kenilworth on Saturday and Turf Talk had a chat to all the trainers.
Vaughan Marshall has won the glamour race on no fewer than five occasions – and also has that number of entries this year – so he seemed a good place to start.
“I think Seeking The Stars, Linebacker and Rascallion in no particular order all have realistic chances.
“Seeking The Stars has done exceptionally well and I’m very happy with him. He’s a real galloping type and going up in trip to 1600m will be no problem at all. His dam Schism won the Winter Oaks over 2200m.
“Rascallion has come on a lot since the Concorde Cup. The longer run-in of the Summer Course will suit him much better and he’s a big runner.
“Linebacker is a dark horse. It’s a pity he drew so badly, but he has decent gate speed and hopefully the pace will be on. We have won from terrible draws before – Captain Al came from gate No 16 and William Longsword No 13, but it’s not ideal.
“My other two Look For Hounds and Contact Zone are both young, improving horses. They will be running on but it’s a big step up in class.”
Mike de Kock is also a five time Guineas winner and has undefeated favourite Malmoos.
“On form he has to be a big runner. He stayed in Cape Town with Brett Crawford after his last run and has done well. It looks like Vaughan Marshall’s horse (Seeking The Stars) has him by a length on a line through Linebacker, and there were a few running on strongly in the Concorde as well.
“But Luke felt he was very green last time, and I’m glad we galloped him at the course last Saturday.”
Justin Snaith is going for the Guineas double following Captain’s Ransom’s seamless triumph in the fillies version last weekend. He fields a trio of contenders, starting with Hoedspruit, who boasts the same owner in Suzette Viljoen.
“He’s doing very well and might just be our choice because of the draw. And having a real thinking rider in Piere Strydom is another big plus. We haven’t seen the best of this one yet.
“The Gatekeeper I think has been very underrated by the media. Any three-year-old who can beat Golden Ducat has to be taken very seriously. The draw is against him, and he’ll need a bit of luck. But a very nice horse for the future, and if he wins this those meeting him later on will need the luck.
“Jet Dark’s last win was super impressive. He also needs to overcome a double-digit draw, but he’s a very interesting contender.”
Dean Kannemeyer has a couple, with Silvano’s Timer perhaps the pick.
“It’s a big test but he’s on the up. I was very happy with his last effort when fourth in the Concorde. He’s improving, and should go over more ground in time.
“Russian Rock had an excellent prep run up the straight. I hope there’s a good pace on and we will find out where he stands with the best three-year-olds around.”
Brett Crawford fields Invincabelle, who has excellent sprint form, but goes around the turn and beyond 1200m for the first time.
“I’m very happy with him. He’s in good form and doing very well. He has a lot of natural speed, and I’m not quite sure he will go a mile. But he pulled a decent draw and we will take our chances.”
Likewise Dennis Drier’s hopeful, last seasons Equus champion juvenile colt Tempting Fate, also has stamina doubts.
“He’s a top, top, sprinter, and if he gets the mile he’s a runner. He choked up in his first run back here, and we have put the tongue tie on for Saturday. His work has been phenomenal.”
Sean Tarry gave an honest assessment about Willow Magic.
“We’re taking our chances as his work is good and he has the inside draw. But the form is there for all to see. It’s a very strong field, and he’s got a mountain to climb.”
Glen Kotzen’s Fast Love is lowest rated of the 15 contenders at 94.
“Our prep went pear-shaped with the virus we have had. But his blood is good and he’s working well.
“The long run in will suit him and he will come from off them. We are expecting a super run.” – TT
Betting World’s betting
3-1 Seeking The Stars
14-1 The Gatekeeper, Invincabelle
16-1 Linebacker, Hoedspruit, Silvano’s Timer
20-1 Tempting Fate, Jet Dark
25-1 Contact Zone
33-1 Willow Express
45-1 Russian Rock
100-1 Fast Love, Look For Hounds