WELWITSCHIA (photo), who accounted for a field of colts and geldings when she won the Grade 2 Diadem Stakes at the end of last month, has only her own sex to contend with in the R400,000 Grade 2 Sceptre Stakes over the same 1200m at Kenilworth on Saturday 18 January.
The Mike de Kock-trained six-year-old is the highest-rated horse in the race, even though the handicappers left her merit rating unchanged at 106 after her Diadem win.
Glen Kotzen, who won this racer with Lady Windermere five years ago, runs useful Jet Belle, who had some smart performances for Robbie Sage last season, finishing third to Cherry On The Top in the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic and the SA Oaks (Grade 2). She was also narrowly beaten when third to Do You Remember in the Grade 1 Woolavington. She has since won a 1160m Graduation Plate at Turffontein in November.
Franny, who has been a little disappointing in Cape Town so far, still has a high rating and ran a creditable fourth to Victorian Secret under top weight in the Listed Laisserfaire Stakes last time. Gavin van Zyl is hopeful that she will show continued improvement in the BMW Pinnacle Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Justin Snaith has never won this race and relies on the consistent Captainofmysoul, who seldom runs a bad race even though she has a fair bit to do on merit ratings.
Mike Bass, who has the best recent record with three wins in the last 10 runnings, is represented by Pure Power, who drops back in trip after pulling too hard in the Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas and then finishing fourth to Gold Academy in a 1 400m Conditions Plate.
Final field for the Sceptre Stakes (Grade 2) over 1 200m at Kenilworth:
1 5 WELWITSCHIA (GB) 60.0 106 A K Shea Mike de Kock
2 7 JET BELLE 60.0 105 A A Fortune Glen Kotzen
3 2 FRANNY 60.0 102 A *K de Melo Gavin van Zyl
4 1 CAPTAIN’S LULLABY 60.0 99 A O Noach Vaughan Marshall
5 9 CAPTAINOFMYSOUL 60.0 97 A R Fourie Justin Snaith
6 3 TORRA BAY (AUS) 60.0 97 BA S Cormack Dennis Drier
7 6 REFLECTIVE IMAGE 60.0 94 A G Hatt Brett Crawford
8 4 VALDIVIA 60.0 88 A M Byleveld Vaughan Marshall
9 8 PURE POWER 56.5 93 A G van Niekerk Mike Bass
10 10 SEA CAT 56.5 92 A G Wright Paul Reeves
Same trainer: (4,8)