Ken Nicol : Candice Bass-Robinson has won all three runnings of the Grade 2 Sceptre Stakes since Cartier assumed the sponsorship in 2017.
And she has a great chance of doing so again when the two-day L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival kicks off with ladies’ day at Kenilworth on Friday.
Clouds Unfold, of course, is the filly in question. She swooped late to take this race a year ago and went on to add the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes on Sun Met day, before an injury ended her KwaZulu-Natal campaign before it began.
This daughter of What A Winter was run off her feet behind undefeated Run Fox Run on her return, but this 1200m will be far more to her liking.
She oozes class, has won both course-and-distance starts and makes a narrow first selection.
Last season’s Equus champion three-year-old filly, Celtic Sea, presents a serious obstacle though. This Sean Tarry-trained filly scored two Grade 1 wins against her own sex last season and even more impressively ran Equus champion speedster Kasimir to 0.50 lengths in the Mercury Sprint.
Her two prep runs have been excellent and she seems certain to battle it out with Clouds Unfold. Both are rated 125 by the official handicappers and there promises to be precious little in it.
The supporting feature is the Listed Jamaica Handicap over 2000m. In an open-looking race, Justin Snaith-trained Sleeping Single appeals. This lightly raced Northern Hemisphere-bred filly seems likely to love going the trip and will be finishing strongly with a handy 54kg on her back.
Best bet on the card though is Helen’s Ideal in the Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares over 1400m. This Paul Reeves-trained Ideal World filly is arguably at her best over this trip and drops significantly in class compared to what she has been facing recently.
Despite top weight, the confirmed frontrunner will take a lot of catching from an inside draw with Bernard Fayd’Herbe up.
To take a bet go to www.tabonline.co.za or www.bettingworld.co.za