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Soqrat and Front and Centre prove best in Guineas

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Soqrat (speed score 104+) and Front and Centre (s/s 102+) won their respective G1 Guineas’ at Kenilworth on Saturday with commanding displays. Soqrat finished swiftly (34.8 for the final 600m) to sweep past cleverly ridden Twist of Fate (s/s 102) with the favoured, One World (s/s 102) running slightly below his previous efforts and only managing third. The winner was produced with a well-timed swoop by Randall Simons and clearly is yet another top-notch Classic miler prepared by the expert de Kock stable.

Brett Crawford was serenely confident going into the Fillies version and that conviction was justified when Front and Centre proved superior. The Dynasty filly may not have been much to look at as a youngster, but she’s shown herself to be special racehorse from the start of her career and remains unbeaten after four outings.

Silvano’s Pride (s/s 99) tried hard after leading down the stretch but had no answer to Crawford’s star filly. Clouds Unfold (s/s 98) moved up with menace but failed to see it out and tapered off to be third. This daughter of What a Winter is very smart having run 104 previously, but arguably is best around 1400m.

Head Honcho (s/s 111) delivered an eye-popping performance in the Premier Trophy over 1800m, which brings Andre Nel’s runner into the Met picture. He has a weird action and the finishing fraction may have been laboured given the toll that the early pace set by Milton took on the chasing pack, but Head Honcho sure knows how to win – this was an eighth victory from 17 starts for the consistent son of Querari.

Made to Conquer (s/s 105) stayed on under a hard ride to get second. He has real powers of endurance and rates as one of the best stayers around in SA at the moment. Eyes Wide Open (s/s 105) clunked up for third - with a bit more spark in the straight he might be able to sneak into the fray in a big race during Summer.

The other Graded contest on the Kenilworth card was the Victress Stakes, where Fresnaye (s/s 93 ++) powered through to score. Miss Katalin tried to go all the way yet could not resist Fresnaye’s closing effort. Miyabi Gold got underway late to snare the second spot ahead of her Snaith trained stablemate, Miss Katalin.

Fresnaye’s trainer, Joe Ramsden was also on the mark with Speedpoint (s/s 108) in the Listed South Easter Sprint. Pacific Trader (s/s 107) had hit the front and briefly looked the winner, only for Lyall Hewitson to pounce with slick timing and score going away on the talented Var bay colt.

Mark VD Bio Image

Mark van Deventer

Mark van Deventer has been refining his speed figures for thoroughbred racehorses over three decades. He’s long been intrigued by the intellectual puzzle of form study. Andrew Beyer, creator of the Beyer speed figures in America, has always been his inspirational “guru.” So, the figures that underpin Mark’s analysis use Beyer’s main concepts, and have been adapted to suit South African racecourses.

The racing bug can be compelling - since 2013, this U.C.T. Psychology graduate has settled into a career as a full time journalist and racing manager.

Mark uses the insights gained from time-based analysis to convey well-researched handicapping opinions, building a reputation of integrity in the media as an imaginative handicapper with the ability to unearth live runners at juicy prices.