CHOICE CARRIERS CHAMPIONSHIP (Grade 2)
Kenilworth, Turf, 1400m
9 November 2013
The WitnessAlong Came Polly heads the market for the Grade 2 Choice Carriers Championship at Kenilworth 16:35 this afternoon, and that is a tip in itself because favorites have been extraordinarily successful in this race.
Five of the last six have won and Brandon Lerena’s mount is best on form. However her three-and-a-half month absence, coupled with a poor draw, is a major negative and trainer Gavin van Zyl has reservations.
“I haven’t done a hell of a lot with her although she has galloped - we went to Durbanville with her.” He said adding that, while he expects her to run well, this is not the main objective. “We are trying to peak her for the Avontuur Fillies Guineas and that is not for another month.”
Stable companion Mohave Princess, although rated four lengths inferior and drawn even worse, has the benefit of a recent outing. “She needed that run - it was her first race since she won the Devon Air five months ago - and she has come on since. She will be competitive.”
Masked Lady is also drawn worryingly wide but she was only a short head behind Along Came Polly in the Golden Slipper and Glen Kotzen took the precaution of giving her a run last week.
“She took that race fantastically well and, while we obviously haven’t done much with her since, she looks superb,” he reports. “This is prep for the Fillies Guineas but, because of the draw, we will have to drop her in.”
She was a generous-looking 8-1 yesterday with Betting World who had Along Came Polly at 7-2 and Mohave Princess at 6-1.
Alascan Maiden, 5-1 second favorite, carried half a kilo overweight when just over two lengths behind Along Came Polly in the Thekwini. She has had a run and she has a decent draw but Mike Bass’ views are informative.
“She is still rangy and I feel she needs more time and more ground,” he said, before adding significantly, “but her work has been very good. Grant van Niekerk rides her although he didn’t really know which to choose. Pure Power (14-1) is doing well and would have been the stable select if she had a decent draw.”
She has a terrible one - pen 15 is almost the kiss of death over 1400m here - but Bass is not prepared to dismiss her on that account. “It’s a big field and so there could be a bit of pace on. Karl Neisius is a very experienced jockey and perhaps there will be a good width of false rail. Lanner Falcon (12-1) in improving all the time.”
The race looks far more open than in recent year and trainer Justin Snaith, who has won three of the last six, actually galloped his three together. “There was very little between them and Richard Fourie rides Highly Decorated (7-1) in preference to In The Fast Lane (10-1) because of owners’ choices and because she won so well for him.”
Trippissa (20-1) has not raced for three months but Snaith does not envisage her needing the race. “She runs because of her gallop. She was so close to the other two.”
The Brett Crawford-trained Zacharias and Vaughan Marshall’sWheredowego are both 14-1 shots and you will have no trouble getting 25-1 about everything else.
So who will win? Maybe Highly Decorated or Masked Lady.