Saturday Selections: 25th February 2023

It’s not really happening for me right now. Even though – and that’s all I can ask for – it was a massive run by Royal Tribute last night at Dundalk. But was only good enough for a 4th place finish in the end.

It was odd to see him held up in last after an excellent start. He made a huge move from 3 furlongs out to lead at the final furlong marker, but he mad that move right into the hottest part of the race, so no surprise to see him fade late.

I’ll try to maintain positivity. Especially in light of a superb day of racing today. Kenilworth, South Africa is the place to be. 2.15 is the time to remember: Cape Derby time – Charles Dickens goes off the hot favourite and let’s just hope he can show something spectacular.

………

1.40 Kenilworth: Listed Jet Master Stakes, 8f

A wide open contest, that sees top rated Al Muthana return to his preferred distance. he was the shock winner of the King’s Plate, but couldn’t follow up in the Met over 10 furlongs, which wasn’t a surprise to see.

Obviously, if he would run to the level of form shown over this course and distance in January, when beating Charles Dickens, he’s the one to beat.

Two issues he may encounter, though: he’s got overcome 62kg on his back. And the low draw, albeit generally a positive, may mean he has to challenge against the inside rail, if he doesn’t want to lose a lot of ground to angle out toward the preferred stands’ side. The market sees it the same, and has a fair 6/1 chance.

Favourite Silvano Dasher won two hot handicaps on the bounce. He’s got to prove his stamina over this trip, though. From his wide draw he’ll be ridden for a turn of foot I assume. Makes little appeal at current odds.

Lightweight Imilenzeyokududuma looks attractive. He is progressive, loves this course and distance and should enjoy the perfect race tracking the pace from his #4 draw.

At the prices I simply have to back classy Warrior, though. He ran really lately, in hot races, often having to overcome wide draws. His stamina was stretched in the Met when last seen, but his run was huge against the very best opposition.

He also was a fast finishing 3rd in the Grade 2 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Premier Trophy prior, when he had to overcome a wide #13 draw, then over 9 furlongs.

The drop to 1.600m looks absolute key today. His record is 7-4-2 over this course and distance and he’s got the added bonus of Richard Fourie in the saddle.

The #7 is possibly ideal. Fourie will have every option to chose his race tactics, but I assume he’ll settle somewhere 4-5 lengths off the pace, with the aim to angle out wide for an early challenge from 500 metres out against the stands’ side.

Warrior is a class act in this field and certainly over his preferred trip. He didn’t have many opportunities to run over this C&D since winning the Cape Mile back in November 2021.

10pts win – Warrior @ 6/1

………

2.40 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

I was seriously impressed with Diderot’s comeback run last month. 203 days off, he returned at Southwell in a competitive class 3 Handicap. No surprise on his first run in such a long time to see some signs of keenness early on, before he happily took the lead of the front-runners.

As he tracked the pace he travelled sweetly throughout, hard on the bridle as he approached two furlongs from home and hit the front. Ultimately the winner came flying from off the pace to catch Diderot inside the final furlong.

It was still impressive to see him being able to keep up strongly all the way to the line, which only horse in near peak form could do.

He ran to a strong 88 speed rating on the day, not too far off his best. Today is a hotter race on paper, but judged on performances over the last twelve months his best is best in this field, in fact.

About a year ago he was only a neck beaten over this course and distance off a 94 mark, running to a 94 speed rating. He followed up with more excellent performances on the All-Weather.

He’s not obviously well-handicapped off 95 today. But he’s very likely to be top form, likely to run to his best, and that could be good in a race where there are question marks to answer for many of his rivals.

The pace will be intriguing. There should be a quite a bit of early speed that will likely suit Diderot to slot in behind the leaders, drop his head then and come with a strong finish in the final furlong to hopefully win the race.

10pts win – Diderot @ 7/2

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