The Cape Town Prawn Festival race day at Kenilworth attracted a bumper crowd, with a feast of feature action to match. Drakenstein Stud excelled to have the first three horses past the post in the Gr2 Diadem all bred at their magnificent farm.
The headlining Grade 2 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes went to Kasimir, who completed a clean sweep of the major sprints of the Cape Season, after earlier taking the Grade 2 Matchem and Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship.
Sergeant Hardy and Bold Respect cut out the early fractions, but raced far apart on opposite sides of the track, while Chimichuri Run was also up there.
Kasimir was always within striking distance, and when he hit the front about 150m out looked likely to score comfortably.
But Speedpoint found a dramatic finish, and closed strongly to only go down a short head in what was very much a ‘heads up heads down’ verdict.
“He’s such a star horse, and tried his heart out” was Richard Fourie’s verdict on what is clearly one of his personal favourites.
Chimichuri Run was only beaten a length into third, and may well be best sprinting.
The other headliner was the Grade 3 Prix Du Cap over 1400m for females. The race is sponsored by prawn specialists Vasco Tavern, and favourite Rose In Bloom narrowly prevailed, after being runner up a year ago.
Anime had made the pace, and stayed on strongly, but Rose In Bloom finished strongly down the outside under a driving ride from S’Manga Khumalo to score by just under half a length.
“She is an absolute little superstar” commented Joey Ramsden.
The Listed Kenilworth Cup over 3200m had been the opening feature of the day. It was won by Pacific Chestnut, who got the better of fellow 7-2 favourite Cedar Man who had attempted to make all, and only went down a neck.
The Jet Master Stakes then produced an upset, as Run Red (15-1) finished strongly under Anthony Andrews to get the better of fellow outsider Ready Steady Go.
Earlier there had been a couple of hugely impressive displays in the minors.
First Vandah’s Spirit proved her run on Sun Met day was all wrong as she poleaxed a set of well bred two-year-old fillies in the 1200m Juvenile Plate despite giving away 3kg all round.
“She has a very bright future” said jockey Aldo Domeyer.
First timer Captain Of Stealth was the ‘talking horse’ on course, and after being heavily supported into 6-10 gave his supporters no anxious moments.
The latest of a number of top Captain Al’s trained by Vaughan Marshall took it up about 1000m out in the Maiden Juvenile 1400, and the race was over as a contest at least 400m from home.
Indeed the performance was eerily reminiscent of stable star and fellow Captain Al colt One World’s debut just under a year ago.
“‘My only concern was that he’s never come off the bit at home, and I wasn’t sure what would happen. But he has a huge action and quickened well” said MJ Byleveld matter of factly, and without a hint of arrogance.
“I think he’ll be something special” said trainer Marshall in words that could prove ominous for future rivals.
The last race of the day saw Marinaresco’s Ideal World half-brother Mercurana break his maiden, winning over 2000m for owners Messrs F Green, Bryn Ressell & N M Shirtliff. The Mauritzfontein / Wilgerbosdrift bred gelding is trained by Candice Bass Robinson, and it was only his 4th start.