Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
AS THE pending showdown between Pocket Power and Big City Life in the L'Ormarins Queens Plate (Gr 1) looms ever closer, the race has gained in interest with the recent announcement of the 17 entries.
As expected, big guns Pocket Power, Big City Life and Kapil are all on track for the 1600m WFA event to be staged at Kenilworth on Saturday, January 9, but there is added interest with the former Mike de Kock-trained Forest Path now under the care of the very much in form Stephen Page.
Both Pocket Power and Big City Life made excellent seasonal debuts in a Pinnacle Plate over the Kenilworth 1500m where Big City Life went down by a length to the faster finishing Horse of the Year.
Both are sure to have come on from that pipe-opener; it just remains to be seen which of the two will improve the most.
However, Big City Life was thrown a curved ball with the Glen Kotzen-trained colt pulling the widest draw of all while Mike Bass sees Pocket Power jump from pole position.
Kapil scored a memorable victory in the Betting World Merchants (Gr 2) beating Villandry but then came unstuck in the WPOTA Diadem Stakes (Gr 2) where he did not get the best of passages and finished up a rather unlucky fifth, just over three lengths back to winner Thunder Key.
Barring the interference, trainer Stan Elley will not have been too despondent with the result as Kapil was doing his best to work late and the Kenilworth 1600m will be right up his alley.
The talented Forest Path has never been an easy horse to ride and a change of stables may just be what the doctor ordered.
The Justin Snaith-trained Sparkling Gem has always been one of the best fillies of her generation and has been in good form leading up to the Queen's Plate.
She was only a length back to the very smart River Jetez in the Victress Stakes (L) and prior to that was touched off a whisker by Fabiani in the Green Point Stakes (Gr 2).
She is a talented front runner and given a break at the top of the straight she could prove difficult to catch.
However, Snaith has left his options open and Sparkling Gem is also an entry in the TBA Paddock Stakes (Gr 1) to be run on the same day. It could prove a difficult choice for Snaith as 1600m appears to be the limit of her compass but there is no Pocket Power or Big City Life to contend with in the 1800m Paddock Stakes.
The Charles Laird-trained Smart Banker has drawn just inside of Big City Life which will not have done his chances any favours but the former Champions Challenge (Gr 1) and Horse Chestnut Stakes (Gr 1) winner is a class act and will also come into this race on the back of some good form.
Sparkling Gem and Mother Russia fought out some memorable battles last season with Mother Russia possibly just holding the edge and they could possibly renew that rivalry in the TBA Paddock Stakes should Snaith so choose.
Mother Russia is now in the care of Mike de Kock, having been bought out of the Joey Ramsden yard. The daughter of Windrush cracked her first win for her new stable in the Ipi Tombe Stakes earlier this month after finishing second to Smart Banker in her debut for her new stable.