KING OF GEMS WINS CONCORDE
Ken Nicol: It’s the calm before the storm at Kenilworth on Saturday, with the Sun Met one week away.
Race 4 is a Pinnacle Stakes over 1500m which tops the bill and has attracted a few classy sorts.
The Brett Crawford-trained King Of Gems would be first choice.
This three-year-old Kingsbarns colt looked very special indeed back in November when coming from miles back to win the Grade 2 Concorde Cup going away.
He was then undone by the lack of pace in the Grade 1 Cape Guineas and failed to make an impression from a bad draw.
But now he jumps from an inside gate. With a handy galloping weight of 55.5kg and Richard Fourie up he can confidently be expected to resume winning ways. Even though, this looks to be a prep run with the Grade 1 Cape Derby on 22 February in mind.
Stable companion and top weight Search Party is the best of the older brigade and can give cheek, as could Candice Bass-Robinson’s Sacred Arrow.
Fellow youngster Golden Ducat is an intriguing entry. His two half-brothers, Hawwaam and defending champion Rainbow Bridge, will both line up in the Met a week later.
He’s not short of talent himself but has also inherited the same quirky temperament as his siblings. Gelded after running on strongly for third in his post maiden appearance, Eric Sands’ charge looks open to any amount of improvement.
On paper he looks to have an impossible task but should be running on late and his future engagements will be followed with interest.
Best bet on the card though is undefeated Binoche in Race 6. Presumably named after glamorous French film star Juliette Binoche, this Vercingetorix filly has looked beautiful to her followers, reeling off three easy wins on the bounce over 1000m.
She steps up to 1200m, but finishes very strongly over shorter, and the extra is not expected to be a hinderance.
This Vaughan Marshall-trained rising star still looks a couple of steps ahead of the handicapper and is a confident winning selection. Oswald Noach doesn’t get too many plum rides but is certainly making the most of this one.
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