Tanzanite Queen set to sparkle
Glen Kotzen holds at least two of the aces in the valuable Klawervlei Farm Sale Graduate Race at Kenilworth’s Youth Day holiday fixture and Aldo Domeyer can win the race for the second successive year.
He scored a convincing success on the Sean Tarry-trained favourite Rock The Globe last season and this time he is also on the market leader, Tanzanite Queen. His mount has, at least arguably, the best form and she came in for significant support in the early betting (33-20 to 11-10).
She raced prominently when a little-considered 14-1 on debut and, despite losing a front shoe, she only went under by a neck to the much more experienced Fiftyshadesdarker who had some good form.
“I ‘ve no idea where in the race she lost the shoe so I can’t say whether it made a difference but she was a little unlucky because she was green,” says the Woodhill trainer. “She was hanging in to the stick and, if the jockey had changed it to his other hand, she just might have put her head down and won.
“But it was a brilliant prep for this. I’m just hoping, though, that it is not too close to her first run.”
However there is a doubt about her ability to handle the changed going. It was good to soft on Monday morning after 14mm of rain the previous day and a total of 86mm in the last week. “She is a big filly but very light on her feet so maybe she won’t go in deep,” says Kotzen. “But I don’t really know.”
Second favourite, after being backed from 7-1 to 4-1, is stable companion Musical Glitch who ran well in the Fillies Nursery. “She has had three months since then to strengthen up and she is a big runner.”
While Kotzen admits that Tanzanite Queen is his first choice of the quartet he points out that Morne Winnaar believes Musical Glitch is better and she was his choice.
Greg Cheyne rides 8-1 shot Magical Midlands (at R200 000 the second highest-priced horse in the field) who had to be withdrawn on debut when Anthony Andrews was injured in the pens. “The horse was fine – I galloped him the next day. It would have been nice if he’d had the experience of a race but he is a proper horse and he will be doing his best work at the finish.”
Ruby Rhythm (25-1) is the outsider of the Kotzen quartet. “She has shown huge improvement from her first two outings and she needed the run last time.”
Brett Crawford’s first-timer Maison Merci is perhaps the most likely of the newcomers, but there was no early money for him and he has been eased from 9-2 to 15-2.
If it is still good to soft punters will be going into the maidens like an explorer without a compass because few of the runners have raced on this sort of surface and their ability to handle it - or otherwise - is largely a matter of guesswork.
Soft Day is marginally favourite for the www.proboost.co.za Maiden Juvenile (race three) and, in a field mainly made up of newcomers, the Glen Puller filly may just be good enough.
Her performance will be a pointer to the chance of Flower Of Saigon in the next, the Coup De Grace/Snaith Racing Maiden Juvenile, as Winnaar’s mount was just over a length and a half further back on debut despite racing green. She has already been nibbled at and could be good enough.
There is precious little to choose between the top four in the Soetendal Estate Maiden - Soetendal is where Rainbow Bridge goes for his holidays - but Fort Agopian ran well on Cape Derby day, has been backed from 7-1 to 4-1 and gets the vote.
Lastly, particularly if you are winning at this point, you might like to consider having a few rand each way on Ikebana in the last. The Brett Crawford five-year-old has raced six times when the going has been softer than good, winning on three occasions and being placed on two of the other three.
Race 3 Soft Day
Race 4 Flower Of Saigon
Race 5 Fort Agopian
Race 7 Tanzanite Queen
Race 8 Ikebana (ew)