Brendan Gaillard: Northern Cape racing takes pride of place on the national racing programme this weekend when Flamingo Park will play host to a 10-race programme that includes the R200,000 RA Flamingo Mile, the R135,000 RA Sprint and R110,000 Department of Economic Development and Tourism Diamond Stayers.
These races have attracted the best of the ‘home’ contingent as well as out-of-province raiders.
The Non-Black Type Flamingo Mile tops the bill and course-and-distance specialist Roy’s Dispren rates the one to beat.
This Corrie Lensley-trained Windrush gelding, who will be partnered by Callan Murray, has found his niche in Kimberley, racking up five wins and two places from eight starts at Flamingo Park with four of those victories coming over this track and trip.
He renews rivalry with Red Special, who is 1kg better off for a 2.75-length defeat, and Dodgy Itie, 3kg better off for a three-length defeat, and can confirm his superiority over that pair, despite the revised terms.
Defending champion Sundari takes his place in the line-up but has it all to do on current form.
The Candice Dawson-trained Fort Wood veteran has made just three starts since his 16-1 surprise win last year but has shown little to suggest a repeat of that feat in finishing unplaced on each occasion.
Ashaawes mare Well Dressed may be one to consider for top honours, as she’s won all three of her starts in Kimberley, but has more to do this time and may have to make do with a place.
In the stayers’ race, lightly raced Sea Bean makes plenty appeal after she took to the sand surface like a duck to water when dispatching of male rivals in the Kimberley Classic over 1600m.
Bill Human’s Philanthropist filly won her maiden over 2000m at the Vaal in just her third start for former trainer Geoff Woodruff. On that evidence Sea Bean should have little trouble negotiating the step up in trip to 2200m. Despite her eight-point penalty, she has plenty scope for improvement so may prove better than rated on the Flamingo Park sand and will take a power of beating in Race 6.
Prolific speedster Rock A Bye boasts an almost impregnable record over 1000m at the track. Lensley’s charge would have unblemished record in eight starts over the course and distance were it not for a narrow reverse – conceding 6.5kg – at the hooves of Mullins Bay mare Caribbean Bay.
However, while another bold showing is expected of this Seventh Rock filly under Murray in the RA Sprint, she may have to play second fiddle to stable companion In Full Regalia.
The latter was the subject of strong betting support on his local debut but only just failed to land the gamble when touched off by Rock A Bye Baby at the line, giving the winner 1kg.
He meets his conqueror on 4.5kg better terms for that 0.15-length beating and as such, is weighted to reverse the form of that meeting. Craig Zackey’s mount could represent plenty value in Race 8.
Consistent Easy To Please and recently relocated sprinter Roquebrune appear best of the rest.