Charles Dickens takes on Gimme a Prince – an outstanding miler versus a brilliant sprinter in the 1400m G3 Matchem Stakes at Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday. This clash for connoisseurs is carded as Race 6, off time 15h15.
Charles Dickens has an official merit rating of 132, two points ahead of Gimme a Prince in this Weight- For- Age showdown. Both are having their seasonal openers. Gimme a Prince is coming off a stiff fourth, two months ago in the Merchants at Hollywood Greyville after a torrid trip. Prior to that he won the G1 Golden Horseshoe under topweight and ran a tremendous race in defeat in the Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m when just failing to catch Trip of Fortune after jumping from a bad gate.
Charles Dickens has been sensational from the beginning of his career. His record stands at eight wins from ten starts, only twice has he been defeated; by older rival, Al Muthana in the G1 Kings Plate and then by middle distance star, See It Again in the G1 Cape Derby over 2000m.
Around 1400/1600 he has no peers in SA. His ability to stride along comfortably, then turn on the afterburners when needed makes him formidable in this distance range. He last ran 112 days ago, when beating his nemesis, Al Muthana in the G1 Gold Challenge over 1600m at Greyville.
This promises to be a great race, even if both are targeting bigger Stakes during Summer. Whatever happens Saturday, a revenge clash in the Queen’s Plate looms as an exciting possibility, as Dean Kannemeyer is keeping his options open with Gimme a Prince.
Next best could be Royal Aussie who can use pace pressing tactics to good effect in a small field, (by tracking likely leader After the Rain,) and is three wins from five over the trip. He is about five lengths inferior to Charles Dickens on known form however, which puts his chances in perspective.
The rest of the field comprises Runaway Song, a prepping stayer: Bright Green, who has scope as a lightly raced talent but is outgunned here; and Cosmic Highway, beat two lengths in this race in 2022 by Trip of Fortune but not near that level since.