Jack Milner: The drop in distance should be ideal for Clouds Unfold when she contests the Grade 2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes over 1200m at Kenilworth on Friday, the opening day of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival.
This R400,000 race is for fillies and mares at weight-for-age and the conditions should be ideal for this Candice Bass-Robinson-trained three-year-old daughter of Western Winter.
She has won four of her six starts and last time out finished a 2.25-length third behind Front And Centre in the Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas over 1600m.
Going into that race there was some scepticism as to whether she would see out the Kenilworth mile and that may have played a part in her defeat.
Dropping to 1200m could play into her hands and she should give some reward to Gaynor Rupert and her Drakenstein Stud as they are the owners of Clouds Unfold and the Rupert family are the key sponsors of the two-day festival.
Clouds Unfold is the joint best-weighted runner, the other being Rose In Bloom who has just returned to the Cape after a stint in Johannesburg and might need a run or two to settle in.
A bigger threat could come from Nous Voila, also trained by Bass-Robinson, and will be ridden by Anton Marcus. She looks held by her stablemate but has run well in open company and must be a contender.
There are two Port Elizabeth entrants who could be able to compete at this level. Carlita ran in the Listed Summer Juvenile at Kenilworth last year and finished second behind Traces. Brett Crawford now trains this daughter of Oratorio and regular stable rider Corne Orffer takes the ride.
The other is Yvette Bremner-trained Mary O’Reilly who has won three of her five starts. Bremner brought her to the Highveld in November to contest the Grade 3 Starling Stakes over 1400m but she missed the break and was reported to be making a respiratory noise. Despite all that she still finished fifth behind Ronnie’s Candy.