Tuesday sees a high-profile race meeting at Turffontein featuring the G2 Gauteng Guineas and the G2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas, the respective first of three legs of the 2022 Triple Crown and Triple Tiara series. This is the meeting postponed from last Saturday.
Both series were won last year. Mike de Kock’s Malmoos took the Triple Crown and Paul Matchett’s War Of Athena reigned supreme in the fillies Triple Tiara.
While De Kock’s top filly Desert Miracle is widely regarded as having a big chance of landing the Tiara in 2022, there is open debate about the colts, in which a true generational leader has yet to emerge this season.
Betway and others have Desert Miracle priced up in the 5-10 range for the Fillies Guineas, a reflection of the talent she has shown so far and based on the assumption that she is a notch above her rivals here. But there is never a ‘certainty’ in racing and De Kock commented: “Desert Miracle’s had a good rest, a good freshen up. She obviously hasn’t had a run under the belt just recently but that was by design. She’s had a very good prep, I’m very happy with her. She’s in a good space.”
He also saddles promising sorts Bold Act and Clafoutis and said: “Clafoutis is very fit, she comes off a cracking run last time. Again, the 1600m is a bit short for her in my opinion but she should give a good account of herself. She’s up to this sort of standard.
“Bold Act delivered a cracking run last time. She’s not guaranteed to get the mile, though her pedigree suggests she should. And I’m just hoping it’s not a second run after a layoff syndrome bounce, and she’ll run well. She won a very good race last time.”
De Kock will saddle a pair of well-performed three-year-olds in the Colts Guineas and he commented: “Safe Passage and Aragosta, as I’ve stated numerous times before, this is very much a minimum trip for both. I think this is a way, way stronger field than the one Safe Passage beat in Dingaans. There looks to be a couple of potentially specialist milers in the field. My runners are going to need a very good pace for them to be competitive. They’re both in a very good space, however, so you can’t leave them out.”
He spoke about his other runners on the day:
“In Race 1 we have Arividicio making his debut. He’s a nice sort by Flower Alley showing very good work. He’s not a horse I’ve pushed, he’s done a lot of it naturally. I’m going to say he’s about 85% ready. He’s going to make big improvement with the run. Experience might be his undoing, but he’ll be very competitive.”
“Eagle River is back in Race 3 following a rest due to lameness after his last start. He’s in over 1160m, a distance at which he’s got reasonable form with blinkers on, so I’d give him an eachway chance here.”
“Our stayer Barak runs in Race 9. He was a bit foot sore after his last start, he comes off that and looks out at the weights here. Outside chance in a tough field.”
“Forever Mine (Race 10) is a horse that’s been slightly disappointing, but I think he’s been a bit too high in the ratings. He comes down now, he’s got a swing at the weights and a good draw in his favour. I’d say he’s probably a strong eachway chance.”
De Kock concluded: “I suppose my best runner on the day is Desert Miracle. She should be a specialist over 1600m, however she’s only run once over the distance and was defeated. But that was by a very good filly in Andre Nel’s Chansonette. And if one takes out the fact that Chansonette is not in this race, it could almost be slightly more competitive than the Fillies Guineas in Cape Town, in my opinion. There’s a couple of fillies here that are on the up, but if Desert Miracle is going to live up to her reputation, she needs to be able to win a race like this.”