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The betting market suggested that Tail of the Comet (7/10) and Questioning (3/1) would dominate the G2 Punters Cup at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Sunday but as it turned out neither hit the first three in the 1600m showdown for ambitious three-year-olds coveting a tilt at the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas.
Instead, Justin Snaith saddled a stable 1-2 as Hluhluwe at 14/1 came from dead last to nab 25/1 longshot, Snow Pilot. Another 20/1 outsider, Green With Envy also made a strong stretch run to be close by in third.
Sometimes too much can be read into a single race but this result changes the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas picture considerably. Tail of the Comet (5th by 2.75 lengths) and Questioning (4th, 2.75 lengths behind) appeared beaten with every chance in a race run at a muddling pace where the overall time was relatively tardy. Hluhluwe nevertheless belied his double-digit starting price to rush through the final 600m in 34.2 seconds and is now one of the principal contenders.
“We’ve been very excited about this horse for a long time, “declared a vindicated, Snaith afterwards. Indeed, Jockey Grant van Niekerk executed the intended “ride him cold and storm home’” tactics to perfection. Snow Pilot was very game a neck short in second, just unable to resist the surging finish of the son of Trippi who has now won four of eight starts.
Dean Kannemeyer, trainer of third horse, Green with Envy, was enthused by his charge’s back-to-best performance after a couple of lesser efforts at Hollywoodbets Durbanville. The Gimmethegreenlight youngster is still getting the hang of things but when he belatedly got the message, showed good determination and finishing zest.
Kannemeyer, who wasn’t convinced that Green with Envy was quite up to being a legit Guineas candidate going into the Cape Punters Cup, is now more buoyant about his prospects. The added racing experience and a galloping Hollywoodbets Kenilworth track duly portrayed Green with Envy in a favourable light.
The Bantry Bay Stakes over 1100m yielded a more punter-friendly outcome. Thunderstruck (backed from 4’s into 2/1 favourite) got the job done, despite drifting outwards in the drive to the line. The Sean Tarry trained/Richard Fourie-ridden colt was chased home by Surjay and both sprinters, as proven Grade 1 class competitors, are bound to enjoy productive summer campaigns in important races over the short cuts.
2023 Diadem Stakes victor Bereave stayed on to complete the trifecta with veteran, Rio Querari, not the force he once was but still running gamely, one- pacing it into fourth spot 2.65 lengths in arrears.
Enemy Territory also makes it onto Sunday’s highlight’s reel. The Canford Cliffs filly may have been carrying just 52.5kg’s but the visually impressive manner and 22.9 second 400-finish sectional in her victory in the Schweppes Summer Bowl was notable. Enemy Territory is trained by Brett Crawford and was adeptly ridden by Gareth Wright.
Given her rate of progress, she is one to follow over the next few months, as is runner up Saartjie who stayed on well down the inner at a heartening comeback, four months after also finishing second to Bless My Stars in the Gold Bracelet in Durban.
10/1 shot, Future Variety took out the City Of Cape Town Sophomore Sprint (Listed) over 1200m – stalking the pace then pouncing to win under Morne Winnaar. 11/10 favourite Ready To Charge duffed the start which cost him, leaving an opening for Candice Bass Robinson’s entry to exploit.
The Milnerton based trainer saddled a stable exacta in this contest for three year olds, with closely matched companion, Captain Arrow running into 2nd, only half a length back.
– Written by Mark van Deventer