Gauteng Guineas winner National Park has remained in Johannesburg until the second leg of the SA Triple Crown, the R2-million SA Classic (Grade 1) over 1800m at Turffontein on 2 March.
National Park is by Gimmethegreenlight, who was best at 1600m but did finish third in the Met while his dam won from 1400m to 1600m.
However, National Park has a good racing temperament and should stay 1800m. He will not be remaining for the third leg, the SA Derby over 2450m, even if he wins the SA Classic.,
The last time National Park stayed on the Highveld it was for the Dingaans and he appeared to run a flat race. This corresponded with a theory that coastal horses staying at high altitude hit a flat spot for about a week at roundabout the 19-day mark.
However, trainer Yvette Bremner believes that disappointing run had more to do with his being forced to go to the front as he was in danger of being caught wide. She believes under the circumstances he did well to finish fourth.
So she is not concerned about him having to spend four weeks on the Highveld until the SA Classic. Top jockey Richard Fourie will keep the ride.
Mike de Kock is unsure whether he will run Cape Guineas winner Soqrat in this race but he is sure to run both Hawwaam and Barahin in the Classic. Entries for the SA Classic close on Monday 18 February.
The handicappers assessed Soqrat to have run to a 118 merit rating in the Cape Guineas and gave National Park a 117 rating for his run in the Guineas. However, Soqrat was later raised to 124 after his narrow loss in the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
CTS 1600 winner One World, whose only loss to date was in the Cape Guineas, is merit rated 117. Politician Stakes winner and Cape Guineas and CTS 1600 runner-up Twist Of Fate is rated 115. However, neither is likely to travel to the Highveld for the SA Classic.
Dingaans winner Hawwaam is merit rated 112 but cannot be written off. He over raced for the second time in succession in the Guineas on Saturday and this blunted the devastating finish of which he is capable and was seen at its best in the Dingaans.
Hawwaam does not have the immaculate temperament of his stablemate Soqrat, but he does probably have more latent ability. If he gets a good draw and settles well in the SA Classic he will be a huge threat.
The SA Triple Tiara is unlikely to be landed this season. Saturday’s Gauteng Fillies Guineas-winner Nafaayes is by speed influence Exceed And Excel out of a Grade 3-winning Dehere mare who was a 1400m to 1600m type, so 1800m might stretch her. – Gold Circle