Unbeaten Malmoos gets the nod in equine Currie Cup clash
Several Mike de Kock runners have drifted in the market for the Cape Guineas, so it could pay to wait till closer to ‘off time’ before betting
In rugby terms, it’s Western Province vs the Blue Bulls in a Currie Cup clash at Newlands. The equine version takes place on Saturday just down the road at Kenilworth with Seeking The Stars representing the home side and Malmoos making the trip from the highveld.
The race is one of the most important during the Cape summer season, the grade 1 Cape Guineas, which has been won by numerous top-notch performers.
Bookmakers have unbeaten Malmoos as the favourite but in recent weeks several Mike de Kock runners (Queen Supreme last weekend) have drifted in the market, so it could pay to wait till closer to “off time”.
Let’s see how the principals shape up.
Trainers: Both Vaughan Marshall (Seeking The Stars) and De Kock (Malmoos) are household names in racing. Both can boast numerous grade 1 successes.
Jockeys: Both Luke Ferraris (Malmoos) and Luyolo Mxothwa (Seeking The Stars) are unbeaten on their respective mounts. They are in seventh and 12th place in the national jockeys’ log.
Draw: The two three-year-olds are drawn next to each other — a little wide, so no advantage here.
Times: In 1,400m races, Seeking The Stars’ best time is 84.54sec and Malmoos’s almost identical at 84.57. On times, it is pretty much a dead heat.
Distance: Malmoos has won over 1,600m while Seeking The Stars is trying the trip for the first time. However, on the strength of his five lengths win last time out it’s unlikely the extra 200m will find him out.
So it’s a tough call for any pundit to make a selection, but there’s one important point which has resulted in this column siding with Malmoos: His Concorde Stakes win at Kenilworth on November 21 came only three weeks after the Captain Al colt’s victory in the Graham Beck Stakes at Turffontein.
Malmoos went into the Cape race following a long road trip from the highveld so, in the circumstances, De Kock had to be well pleased with his performance.
Now Malmoos has had four weeks to settle into his new surroundings and should be at the top of his game for his first venture into grade 1 company.
It could be a mistake thinking it is a two-horse affair as Rascallion, stablemate of Seeking The Stars, has been far from friendless in the ante-post market. The second Marshall runner by Vercingetorix, he has the advantage of gate two. That makes life easier for his pilot, Aldo Domeyer.
Whatever his fate on Rascallion, Domeyer should not be far away in the grade 2 Peninsula Handicap in which he partners Sovereign Spirit for trainer Candice Bass-Robinson.
In this race in 2019, the Dynasty gelding was drawn 16 out of 16, but this time he’s drawn gate four and — as Bass-Robinson thought enough of him to run him in last season’s grade 1 Champions Cup — he can reward each-way support.
With the early favourite Sachdev drawn near the highway, Anton Marcus’s mount Sing Out Loud, jumping from pole position, is named as the biggest danger. Others very much in the mix are Nexus (bad draw), Hudoo Magic, Love Happens and Seventh Gear. The latter is also badly drawn but could be the best “roughie”.
In the grade 3 Victress Stakes, we could possibly get a repeat of last season’s Cape Fillies Guineas in which Mississippi Burning beat Driving Miss Daisy. Adam Marcus’s filly should be cherry ripe in her third run back from a break.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want to risk the turkey money on this race as all eight runners can be given some sort of chance.
1 (2) Malmoos
2 (1) Seeking The Stars
3 (5) Rascallion
4 (8) The Gatekeeper
1 (7) Sovereign Spirit
2 (8) Sing Out Loud
3 (9) Seventh Gear
4 (5) Sachdev
1 (1) Mississippi Burning
2 (5) Driving Miss Daisy
3 (4) Sleeping Single
4 (2) Silvano’s Pride
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