where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2009-02-26 07:51:42  

Dancer's Daughter has deadheated with Pocket Power in the Vodacom Durban July, beaten him in the Gold Challenge and run him close in both the J & B Met and Champions Cup. That level of form leaves her head and shoulders above her rivals in the Gr 1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday and she looks the proverbial penalty kick on paper.

It may not be quite as simple as that, though: if the grey mare is to notch up her fifth win at the highest level, she has to overcome not just a smart younger rival in Gypsy's Warning but also the dreaded altitude hoodoo that has sunk many a talented Cape-trained horse in the past. Having said that, we've also seen several Cape stars, from Over The Air to Potomac to Laisserfaire, come to the Highveld and get the job done, so it's certainly not an insurmountable obstacle. Ultimately, only the race will tell how well she will cope away from sea level and the bookmakers are certainly taking no chances, having priced her up at 7/10 during the week. Whatever, the result, trainer Justin Snaith deserves full marks for taking the bold step to campaign her in these parts and it certainly would enhance the two Gauteng feature seasons if we saw more Cape raiders taking their chances here.

Gypsy's Warning is the only 3-year-old in the race and looks best placed to take advantage if the favourite comes undone. Trainer Ormond Ferraris's charge is yet to run a bad race and has been taking on the best of her age group, her biggest success coming in the Gr 1 Thekwini Stakes at the end of last season. She has looked in good nick in three races this season, returning after a four-month break to run a very good third to Emblem Of Liberty in The Gr 2 Ipi Tombe Challenge over this course and distance and then easing home in a Graduation Plate and the Gr 3 Acacia Handicap. She is  still on the upgrade, is the only horse in the race that's not badly out at the weights with Dancer's Daughter, and has home ground advantage, so she cannot be taken lightly.

Most of the remaining runners have reasonable place claims. Looking at them in order of merit rating, Outcome is second-best of the older contingent - albeit 5kg out with Dancer's Daughter under these conditions - and is a classy sort in her own right, having notched up ten wins including the Gr 1 Garden Province Stakes. However, as is well documented, she is very much a Greyville specialist and has never been able to reproduce the same level of form elsewhere.

Oracle News is a Gr 2 winner and finished third in the Garden Province Stakes, so she is certainly no slouch. Consistency is not her strong suit but she could sneak into the frame if in a galloping mood. She comes into the race off a very decent fourth in the Gr 1 Fancourt Majorca Stakes a month ago.

Glenrossal seldom runs a bad race and has been taking on competitive opposition under big weights without disgracing herself. It's a stretch to see her winning here, but she is by no means a lost cause for quartet purposes.

Blue Swift has ability but looks well held by Gypsy's Warning on the Acacia form, having been beaten four lengths and now meeting that one on 2kg worse terms.

Kiss For Kate is a very interesting runner. She's had her share of problems, having been off the track for a year, but has yet to finish out of the first two in four starts since returning. She ran a cracking race in the Acacia Handicap, her first attempt at a mile, when chasing home Gypsy's Warning and although 2kg worse off, she is still one of the less exposed runners in the race. Paul Matchett's yard is in fine form and she must have a sound chance of making the placings.

Mochachino has come back to form with two good wins, albeit against much weaker, and she is another who, while hard to picture as a winner here, must have a live chance of finishing somewhere in the money.

Milk And Honey disappointed in the Flamboyant Stakes, having been a model of consistency prior to that and she was a fine second to Emblem Of Liberty in the Ipi Tombe, finishing ahead of Gypsy's Warning in the process. It would be no surprise to see her make the frame.

Angel Flight completes the line-up and while she has turned in some useful performances in her time, she is badly off form and it would a surprise to see her involved in the finish.

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