Ken Nicol: Brett Crawford had something of a Jekyll and Hyde day at Kenilworth on Saturday.
The Philippi based conditioner travelled to the races with a strong hand, and went home with a more than satisfactory three winners.
He made a late charge, as Depeche, St Vladimir, and Para Handy took races 6, 7 and 9 respectively.
St Vladimir was particularly impressive. The Fort Wood colt had won his maiden fluently over the Kenilworth 1800m, and cruised clear late over the same trip at a generous 5-1.
It was a mere MR66 event, but the manner of the win suggested a bright future, and Crawford indicated post-race that the progressive staying type would be heading to KZN for the winter.
On the down side his two shortest priced runners on the day both ran well downfield.
Var Express (11-10) had made a promising debut, and was expected to be too good for a bunch of moderate maidens.
He was well beaten, but had valid excuses. The colt had a shoe replaced at the start, lost another in the running, and was found to be lame on the left hind.
Mushi Sterek (9-10) was more of a mystery. The Australian bred filly had been ultra-impressive when winning by five lengths on debut in November, but on this occasion was beaten by the 700m mark, and trailed in last.
Anton Marcus reported she had taken no interest, and the course vet found no obvious abnormalities. Trainer Crawford was requested to submit a further report once she had returned to the stables.
Classy Santa Clara had a perfect prep for Sun Met day with an easy win in the FM 92 over 1600m.
The Group 2 placed daughter of Duke Marmalade is entered for the Majorca, Derby, and CTS 1600 on the big day.
Candice Bass-Robinson indicated that she is inclined to run against the colts in the Derby over 2000m come January 26, but that no final decision has been made.