Crawford takes Passage to another win


Patrick Nkosi: For the last few weeks racing in South Africa has been all about Brett Crawford and he can hit the headlines again because his charge Kingston Passage looks banker material in Race 6 at Kenilworth on Sunday, a MR 88 Handicap over 1000m.

Kingston Passage, a son of Western Winter, has yet to taste defeat over the course and distance and I don’t foresee that changing, at least not in this event.

The three-year-old has been heavily backed and delivered the goods in his last three outings and the support, one can assume, is a reflection of his connections’ belief in his ability.

In each of his last three wins he has stepped up in grade and found another gear. He’s previously beaten three of the nine other runners in this race and should confirm his superiority by clinching a fourth-straight victory from only six career starts.

He will have regular rider Greg Cheyne in the saddle, jumps from No 4 draw and shoulders 59kg, which over this type of trip shouldn’t raise too many red flags for a horse who hits the front early and stays there. Kingston Passage returns from a short rest but with the stable in red-hot form, fitness shouldn’t be an issue.

In opening betting he was 22-10 favourite with Ovar and South Side next on offer with Betting World at 5-1.

Andre Nel-trained Ovar could be the biggest threat to Kingston Passage. He shoulders 55.5kg. My only issue with Grant van Niekerk’s mount is that he hasn’t won a race since July last year and my pockets argue he’s been an expensive horse to follow, always finding a runner or three to beat him.

Plus, Kingston Passage (6kg worse off – three lengths over this distance) easily skipped 5.50 lengths clear of him in an April sprint. Although Ovar showed improvement in his latest effort, the real question is, is it enough turn the tables? I don’t think so.

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