IN taking a closer look at the merits of Vercingetorix’s win in Saturday’s Gr2 KRA Guineas over 1600m at Greyville, some interesting facts emerge.
Since the turn of the century, the KRA Guineas (formerly the SA Guineas), has been staged 13 times, excluding this year’s renewal. Among the 13 winners, eight came into the race having already won Graded features for three-year-olds.
Five of the eight winners mentioned had at least one Gr1 win behind their names approaching the KRA Guineas (including Saturday’s runner-up Capetown Noir) and two other individuals had won Grade 2 races. Vercingetorix had run only twice for a Maiden success followed by a Graduation win.
Three of the winners since 2000 have gone on to stallion careers, while two raced and won at Graded level abroad as older horses. This shows the traditional top quality of the race.
Looking at how the KRA Guineas reflects on the Vodacom Durban July over the last 30 years, we see that , since 1983, five KRA Guineas winners went on to win the Durban July in the same season. They were Royal Chalice, Illustrador, Dancing Duel, Dynasty and Big City Life.
There are no clear patterns as far as years elapsing between Guineas/July doubles in this period, but the overall average is 5.9 years. Almost four years have gone by since Big City Life’s double in 2009 – one can argue that recent history is tilting in favour of Vercingetorix to put his name on the roll of honour this year.
If it sounds like we’re grasping at straws to make a case for early bets on Vercingetorix to go on to July glory, consider in closing the times recorded by the winners of the KRA Guineas since 2000. Vercingetorix clocked a super fast 94.65s for the Greyville mile on Saturday, the second fastest time recorded this century for a race invariably won by terrific horses, including superstar miler Variety Club, whose 94.23s in 2012 is the best for the term under scrutiny so far.
Of course, this is racing and its natural unpredictability will always play the biggest role, but do have a browse through the statistics below and draw your conclusions.
KRA GUINEAS WINNERS/TIMES (s), 2000-2013
2000 The Sheik 99.58 (soft track condition)
2001 Celtic Grove 96.23
2002 Eventuail 95.90
2003 Dynasty 95.90
2004 Heir Apparant 96.45
2005 Dunsinane 96.23
2006 Kapil 94.91
2007 Dynamite Mike 96.50
2008 Imbongi 96.01
2009 Big City Life 98.42
2010 Noordhoek Flyer 95.35
2011 Solo Traveler 95.27 (soft track condition)
2012 Variety Club 94.23
2013 Vercingetorix 94.65