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– Written by Mark van Deventer

(Image of HAPPY CHANCE by Chase Liebenberg)

The SplashOut Prix du Cap for fillies and mares is one of the hardest races to predict on Saturday’s card, even though the weight scale is compact.   

13 runners go to post for the Gr3 1400m contest at the SplashOut Seafood & Jazz Racing Festival at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday, 24 February, and is carded as Race 6, off time 15h00.  

Here’s a sneak peek at each entry in card order, with the more plausible chances highlighted in CAPS; card numbers correspond to draw: 

  1. HAPPY CHANCE mixes her form but can be scary-good on a going day. She responds particularly well to forceful rider, Louis Mxothwa, and rates a big chance from the inside alley as the officially best weighted filly in the race (OMR 116).
  2. OCTOBER MORN is proven as a hugely talented sprinter with an OMR of 112. Whether she can carry that electric finishing speed over seven furlongs is debatable (she flopped in the Winter goo trying 1500m as a youngster), but the betting market now makes her the favourite to be as effective over seven panels as she is over five or six.
  3. Miss Marguerite was stiff when baulked last time in the Pongracz Olympic Duel Stakes which cost her a first four placing. Piet Steyn has her in prime form, but she must boost her rating (OMR 99) to menace the prime candidates.
  4. SHANTASTIC has a few physical issues to test trainer Dean Kannemeyer’s expertise. She has been well managed to compile a generally consistent record between 1000m and 1400m in this grade of race, and can use her powerful finish to get right into the fray from a favourable draw.
  5. RIPPLE EFFECT won the Pongracz Olympic Duel in a 50/1 stunner. There was nothing fortuitous about the win though, as she weaved through the entire field to win going away. A repeat would make the 107 rated Erupt filly a legit contender.
  6. RASCOVA can make her own luck racing upfront. She won the 1400m Western Cape Fillies Championship that way in November ’23 and was very game second to HOTY Princess Calla in the City Of Cape Town Majorca Stakes, which saw her OMR bumped up to 115. If given too much leeway, this speedy frontrunner could prove hard to catch.
  7. Enemy Territory is a winner of four out of ten starts, including two from two over the distance. She does, however, appear held by a few here on the Ripple Effect form line from a month ago.
  8. DOUBLE GRAND SLAM is a gifted three-year-old with a tractable running style which gives Grant van Niekerk positional options. She ran with distinction in the Gr1 City of Cape Town Majorca Stakes, and is rated the equal of Rascova. She’s a major player.
  9. Hollywoodbets Diana Stakes winner, GOLDEN HOSTESS loves 1400m, has a great turn of foot and should get a strong pace to aim at here. She is an erratic runner but would have a shake on her peak past performances.
  10. Distant Winter ran with the best around as a juvenile, but has not trained on as connections would have hoped. She has an OMR of 106 but needs to surpass that level to mix it with these rivals.
  11. MRS GERIATRIX is a similarly enigmatic case. Tremendous at two when unbeaten and SA’s undisputed juvenile filly champ, then not so flash at three. This petite and temperamental daughter of Vercingetorix is hard to rate at present. She hammered Rascova at Hollywoodbets Greyville in July ’23, but has not reproduced that ability level (OMR 112) since.
  12. Asiye Phambili was bumped up to an OMR of 111 after nearly toppling October Morn in the Cartier Sceptre Stakes. That puts her in the ballpark, but her overall body of work suggests she may find it hard to tangle with the best from a difficult draw.
  13. Cala Muretta is the lowest rated entry (97), and is also disadvantaged by a wide gate. Blinkers will go on to revive her fortunes which have slumped since completing an up-country double 209 days ago.
(Image of GOLDEN HOSTESS by Chase Liebenberg) (Image of RIPPLE EFFECT by Chase Liebenberg)