FRONT AND CENTRE STORMS CLEAR
Ken Nicol: Brett Crawford’s Front And Centre kept her unbeaten record intact with a comfortable victory in the Grade 1 WSB Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth.
After a muddling early pace, the highly progressive Silvano’s Pride took it up, and led from Temple Grafin and Just Chaos.
Market rivals Front And Centre and Clouds Unfold were next as they swung for home, three and four lengths off the pace respectively.
Halfway up the stretch it was obvious that the leader wasn’t going to fold, but Anton Marcus visibly had plenty of horse underneath him, and when he asked for maximum inside the final 200 she drew off to win by a length and a half without too much fuss.
Silvano’s Pride fought on doggedly for second, while Clouds Unfold failed to quicken as we know she can, and has to go down as a bit of a disappointment despite finishing third.
Ghaala also failed to fire, as the de Kock raider didn’t make any kind of impression, and trailed in eighth.
This was master jockey Marcus’ first Grade 1 win for Ridgemont Highlands since becoming their jockey of choice.
“She had an ideal prep and it was a win full of merit. I actually think she’s better than today’s performance” were the ominous words he had for his rivals.
Brett Crawford was equally impressed.
“I was super confident – she’s the real deal” were the way he summed up the supercharged daughter of Dynasty.
Front And Centre is nominated for the Paddock Stakes on January 5, where a potential match up with Equus horse-of-the-year Oh Susanna would be certain to have pulses racing.