Love Is A Rose and you better pick it

Richard Fourie onboard Love Is A Rose (Credits to 4Racing)

The song ‘Love Is A Rose’ – written and composed by Neil Young – was made popular in the 1970s by Linda Ronstadt (from the group The Stone Poneys) whose country hit version peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1975 with the words “Love is a rose but you better not pick it” repeated throughout the ballad.

The title plays on the idea that we will inevitably get hurt when loving someone but are we willing to accept the pain?

At Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday 18 November, however, it won’t hurt to follow the Greg Ennion-trained horse of the same name when the four-year-old filly lines up over 1800m. In actual fact, it could pay handsome dividends to follow Love Is A Rose with Richard Fourie back in the irons, so bettors are encouraged to ‘pick it’ in Race 6.

Despite placing just once in five starts at the country course, Love Is A Rose has run some very respectable races in defeat recently. She has run in stronger races than the one she lines up in on the eight-race and each of her last three starts – which have yielded a third as well as two fifth-place finishes in consecutive Listed races – has come against male opposition.

Interestingly, this daughter of Master Of My Fate has been docked a point in her rating in spite of these commendable performances.

Ennion’s charge is, under the conditions of Race 6, the best-weighted runner in the lineup and she ought to prove an entirely different proposition competing against her own sex this time around with Fourie back aboard the filly for the first time in four starts.

The country’s log-leading rider has won two of three outings, including the Grade 3 Final Fling Stakes, on the Ennion-trained Love Is A Rose.

Fourie rides returning Peter Muscutt-trained runners Plaza Accord in Race 1 and Petteia in Race 2 but is likely to play second-fiddle to Brett Crawford inmates in both contests. King Of Spin is good value to bounce back to the sort of promise he showed on debut by winning the opener over 1250m with Speed Racer expected to follow suit and complete a quick double for the stable in Race 2, which is the lucrative Cape Racing Sales Restricted Maiden Plate for R200 000 over 1400m.

The latter has finished third three times and second twice, including over the course and distance 20 days ago, in his last five starts so wouldn’t be winning out of turn.

Candice Bass-Robinson hasn’t saddled a winner at either of the last two Cape Town meetings but is likely to send out a timely reminder to her rivals that she means business ahead of the return to Hollywoodbets Kenilworth later this month with three potential winners on the card.

Ellorix has been threatening to shed her maiden tag recently with close-up finishes in her last three starts all from unfavourably wide starting berths – 11 of 12; 12 of 14 and 10 of 10.

She will jump from gate No 7 in Race 3 over 1400m, the same course and distance over which she has finished second under Aldo Domeyer two starts back.

Sugar Mountain has, like most of the progeny of his sire Silvano, only really come to hand recently and hit his straps this year as a five-year-old. He has won three times in five 2023 outings and that trio of victories have come from his last four outings.

This in-form gelding has shot up 12 points in the ratings as a result, so races off a career-high mark of 103 in Race 5, but he seems capable of defying the four-point raise for his last-start success over 1400m, as the step up to 1800m for the first time could unlock any amount of progress from Bass-Robinson’s charge.

Callmegetrix and Rainbow Lorikeet are highly regarded by the stable and both well-bred three-year-olds are thought to have Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas aspirations, so they will need to acquit themselves competitively in Race 8 if they are to fulfill those ambitions.

The latter edged a recent meeting over 1400m but it could pay to follow the progress of the former who was dropped out from a very wide draw before running on stoutly from a hopeless position to be beaten just a nose by her stablemate last time.

Both should, on pedigree, have more to offer over the extra 200m but Callmegetrix is drawn inside of Rainbow Lorikeet this time around which gives Gareth Wright’s mount the edge.

Clive Robinson

Author: Melissa