An excellent field of 14 3yo fillies are set to do battle in the G2 Western Cape Fillies Championship, run over 1400m on the old course at Kenilworth this Saturday.
The winner of this R400 000 contest looks sure to be among the leading contenders for December’s G1 Cape Fillies Guineas, with many Fillies Championship winners having previously gone on to do the double.
Cape champion Temple Grafin, will jump from pole position for her recent birthday celebrating trainer Glen Kotzen. The daughter of Cartier Champion Duke Of Marmalade makes her first start since landing the G3 Gagasi FM Debutante Stakes back in July and has just once tasted defeat in 3 starts. Her stablemate Coral Bay looks a big runner here if ready, with the Ideal World filly having impressed when winning both the Kenilworth Fillies Nursery and Irridescence Stakes last season.
Canukeepitsecret, a full-sister to 2012 Fillies Championship heroine All Is Secret, made a stunning 3yo debut when romping home to win as she liked over 1250m at Durbanville in September. This beautifully bred filly has the benefit of a good draw of two and she should give another good account of herself.
Front And Centre, the regally bred Dynasty half-sister to G1 winning sire Potala Palace, has done nothing wrong and is unbeaten in two starts. There was plenty to like about the Brett Crawford trained filly’s last win, when downing Fillies Championship contender Go The Distance by 1.75 lengths, but she is facing a much tougher task in Saturday’s race. A big run here will ensure Front And Centre starts a warm fancy for the Fillies Guineas later in the season.
Her stable mate Shamrock Wind, has won two of four, but faces a tough task from a very wide draw.
Trainer Candice Bass-Robinson has five in the race, with once beaten G3 Cape Nursery winner Clouds Unfold appearing the stable elect. A daughter of champion sprinter What A Winter, the temperamental Clouds Unfold is trying the 1400m trip for a first time but must rate a big runner if she stays the extra 200m.
Stable mate Santa Clara impressed when second in both the Listed Kenilworth Fillies Nursery and Irridescence Stakes last season but has a wide draw of 12 to contend with, while fellow Bass-Robinson trained Nous Voila was beaten nearly five lengths last time out by Coral Bay and should again be held by that Ideal World filly.
Go The Distance has a poor draw of 14 and has ground to find with the likes of Clouds Unfold and Front And Centre, while debut winner Varsity Lover makes just the second start of her career and looks to have a tough task on her hands. The beautifully bred daughter of Var is out of former Equus Champion Captain’s Lover-who won the Fillies Championship back in 2007.
Somewhat unusually, champion trainer Justin Snaith has just a single entry in Saturday’s race, with his Juniper Spring (an own sister to 2017 Fillies Championship winner Snowdance) the Snaith’s sole runner in the race. Drawn somewhat wide, Juniper Spring impressed when shedding her maiden last time out but has ground to find with both Front And Centre and Coral Bay.
Helen’s Ideal was well held by Canukeepitsecret when the pair met at Durbanville and looks hard to fancy here, while visiting filly Anneka was not disgraced when just over six lengths off stablemate Celtic Sea in the G2 Golden Slipper but faces a tough test here.
Celestial Storm, who has a wide draw, looks outclassed here.