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– Written by Mark van Deventer

Event 1: Winter Feature Racing Season  

The first event in the Winter Feature Racing Season will be contested at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday, 6 April 2024.  

Race 6 is the Sweet Chestnut Stakes, a Listed event for F & M three years and older going 1400m, followed by the G3 Variety Club Mile, which has attracted a potent field of 11 – eight of whom sport triple digit OMR’s. 

RASCALLION and MONTIEN are class standouts in the Mile. The former is a paragon of consistency right up to Gr1 level, and nearly pulled off a stunning front-running steal in the World Sports Betting Cape Town MET over 2000m in January. 1600m is at the low end of his preferred distance spectrum but RASCALLION is nothing if not game and is bound to give another courageous display, though he might be done for finishing speed. 

MONTIEN emerged with distinction in the Gr1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate, clocking in just 4.6 lengths off Charles Dickens at level weights, despite a dropped rein. That is the best form on offer here over the trip, and if Piet Botha has him cranked up after a 70-day layoff, then the long striding Louis the King gelding could be hard to get past racing handy from a low draw. 

Two who will try run them down with late surges are WECANGOALLNIGHT and PACAYA. A true run mile should suit WECANGOALLNIGHT just fine, and Eric Sands’ charge comes in off a fluent score three weeks ago when zipping by Café Culture.   

PACAYA is an enigma. Seriously good on a going day, he mixes his form, and occasionally throws in shockers such as in the recent MET when he pulled up dead last with a cardiac arrhythmia. Rested since that write-off, it’s notable that he has twice won fresh before, and possesses a swift turn of foot which might stun them if restored to full health by the excellent, Snaith Racing team. 

The Sweet Chestnut Stakes is a brain teaser. Distance suited, Canford Cliffs filly, ENEMY TERRITORY comes out best on official ratings over FUN ZONE, with the rest of the field tightly clustered. There is no obvious pace angle either which further complicates matters. 

TRIP TO MAPUTO, KYALAMI GIRL (solid form, primed for a peak, could get the run of the race) and SIDDELEY (a fine go in the Pongracz Olympic Duel Stakes, then pipped at Fairview by local heroine, Luna Halo, which sets the standard here) have a propensity to race handy. So too did Lady Mistico earlier in her career, but it seems unlikely they will go hell for leather. This could turn into a tactical affair where positioning and ability to quicken becomes decisive. 

That brings MONTELENA and SUMMER LILY into the equation; both fillies have a sharp turn of foot. And, although beaten, SUMMER LILY’s come-home sectional was way quicker than front-running SIDDELEY over the trip at Hollywoodbets Durbanville in November ’23. Meanwhile, MONTELENA gave SIDDELEY windchill when blasting past her when they met towards the end of last year over this course and distance. 

Sean Veale rides MONTELENA and this strong pilot is adept at using hold-up tactics. They will need plenty of luck from draw 9, but the Marshall trained daughter of The United States is offered as the speculative each way suggestion in a devilishly difficult race where wary P6 bettors should probably put in anything with a pulse to be sure of advancing. 

– Images by Chase Liebenberg