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– Written by Mark van Deventer

14 runners contest the Southern Cross Stakes, a G2 for fillies and mares dashing 1000m down the straight course. It’s carded as Race 5 and forms part of the R1 million carry forward P6 where the pool is expected to reach R6 million.


Punters looking to short select in that challenging wager might focus the bulk of their Leg 2 action on ante-post favourites October Morn and Kiss Me Captain, with Baltic Secret, Oni San and Kwinta’s Light as back-up’s.


October Morn was a unlucky in here last start, running 2nd behind Baltic Secret last time at the fast-running Hollywoodbets Durbanville track. The Trippi filly was momentarily held up going through the 300m and forced to switch – but for that inconvenience, she would probably have run down her speedy foe.

October Morn showed talent from the get-go – pulverising Golden Sickle at her second outing in April 2023 and has since trained on under Candice Bass Robinson’s deft touch into a formidable sprinter capable of running big numbers. The slightly stiffer Hollywoodbets Kenilworth 1000m should suit her ideally, so she gets the nod, albeit marginally over M/A Azzie’s, Kiss Me Captain.


Kiss Me Captain, a daughter of Captain of All, has won five of ten starts and was most impressive besting Countdown in the South Easter Sprint in a 4 seconds faster time than October Morn managed (when defeating Bluff on Bluff) on the same day. Kiss Me Captain burst through swiftly for the victory in a competitive field and rates a major danger as her overall record on the Highveld also withstands scrutiny. Ace jockey Richard Fourie, who partnered her in the SE Sprint, sticks solid.


The naturally speedy Baltic Secret received a perfectly timed ride from JP van der Merwe to take the Laisserfaire Stakes and they will try repeat the treatment. Maybe the Hollywoodbets Durbanville circuit played to her strengths better than others but giving Baltic Secret too much start even here could prove costly, which makes the Snaith Racing entry a principal contender.

Three-year-old grey, Oni San has only 1.8 lengths to make up on Baltic Secret so is not out of the picture. Neither is Kwinta’s Light, who was disappointed for a clear run in the race won by Kiss Me Captain, finishing a similar margin back despite being badly blocked. The Gimmethegreenlight mare is at her absolute best over a stiff sprint yet can still get into the fray, especially if a headwind is pumping.


Of the balance, Candy Town, Ripple Effect, Gimmies Lassie and Three Rocks may sneak into the frame. The first two are imbued with raw speed which counts for plenty in turf sprints, whilst Gimmies Lassie, who turns back to the short cuts, will probably be conserved to pick up the pieces late if there is a pace meltdown.


Alan Greeff brings Three Rocks from the Eastern Cape after she completed her fifth win on the bounce. On a line through steady older performer, Hunting Trip (who races here too) she is no forlorn hope and might be added to wider exotics.


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