Champion three year old filly Princess Victoria sets out to redeem her worldbeater reputation when she runs in the R200 000 Gr2 Tibouchina Stakes over 1450m at Clairwood on Saturday. The Kotzen flyer looks to have only Camelia Stakes winner Welwitschia to beat.
We are probably breaking a few basic golden rules here. Never say never, and never ever utilise the word ‘only’ when referring to opposition hailing from the De Kock yard. But let’s tempt fate and forecast that Princess Victoria will gain her right to rule again on Saturday afternoon.
Glen Kotzen’s champion filly ran a too-bad-to-be-remotely-true seventh and 4,75 lengths off Ebony Flyer in the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville at the end of May. She appeared to have every chance during the running as regular rider Sean Cormack stuck to her outside station. But the alarm bells were ringing halfway through the race and she faded to show none of her electrifying kick.
That outing has been analysed to oblivion and back by every expert and his dog. The only consensus that really matters are surely the opinion of the two men who should know. Her trainer and jockey are of the simple opinion that the Princess had an off-day and did not have her cause aided by the fact that she stretched on what may not have been the best part of the Scottsville track.
Hindsight remains one of the great tools of wisdom in this game and there are probably a few things that Kotzen and Cormack may have done differently, given a second chance. The race is history though and they appear confident of setting the record straight come Saturday.
Their major obstacle must be Mike De Kock’s Oasis Dream filly Welwitschia who finished 3,75 lengths ahead of Princess Victoria in the SA Fillies Sprint on the identical weight terms as they meet on Saturday. Welwitschia hit the headlines with a terrific win from nowhere in the Gr2 Camelia Stakes run over 1160m at Turffontein on Champions Day. Her straightshooting trainer declared afterwards that he had erred by trying to force her to stay and she was in fact ‘a sprinter.’
Her forward run in the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint would appear to confirm that observation. While she has won at Gr3 level over 1450m, she faced no royalty that November afternoon . That was her 2,25 length win over Dancewiththedevil in the Joburg Spring Challenge. That trip is short of St John Gray’s mare’s best. There was nothing much trailing in their wake either.
So Princess Victoria has the better credentials over the trip. The two are drawn alongside one another and it should be a great race.
Brett Crawford’s five-time winning Silvano filly Frequent Flyer ran an excellent second to Stern Line in her return to racing after last running on J&B Met day. She ran a great second to Ebony Flyer in the Majorca Stakes on the Cape’s big day. That return run was in a Pinnacle Stakes over the course and distance and she had her stablemate Thunder Dance 4 lengths behind her in seventh position. Thunder Dance, who is at number 12 on the latest July log, did not glamourise that collateral with a modest 7 lengths unplaced run behind Viva Maria in last Saturday’s Gr1 Woolavington 2000. Frequent Flyer may be good enough to complete the trifecta, if not flat after her effort after the rest.
Gr3 Umkhomazi Stakes winner Trinity House was run off her feet when finishing 5,35 lengths behind Princess Victoria in the Poinsettia Stakes at the end of April. Anything that Anton Marcus puts his leg over is worth considering, and while she cannot beat Princess Victoria based on their past encounters, she certainly warrants quartet considerations.
The other Captain Al three year old is Wendy Whitehead’s Reason To Believe , who is overdue to win something of note. A filly who never runs a bad race, she is held on the Umkhomazi form by Trinity House, but ran a cracker in the KRA Fillies Guineas when a 0,75 length second to Amanee. She gets the services of Kevin Shea and jumps from a nice 3 draw.
The second of the De Kock runners is the Kahal four year old Checcetti, who has won all of her four races from a mile and up. She scored a good win in the Gr3 Jacaranda Hadicap at her penultimate start on very soft going, and accounted for former Summer Cup winner Flirtation there. That is really not bad form, and while this is a bit on the short side for her, she may give the better fancied girls a fright.
Mike Bass sends out the Tiger Ridge four year old Mombasa who gets the services of the in-form Bernard Fayd’herbe. While only 4,60 lengths off Princess Victoria in the Poinsettia, she looks to be outclassed.
Riley’s Star ‘s last three outings have been promising and she is something of a distance specialist. Off her rating she is not well weighted and is another that looks outclassed against this league.
Sean Tarry’s Give Me Five has not won in ages and has always looked more comfortable over the sprint trips. She should be hard pressed to earn here.
We suggest that champion class will count and Princess Victoria will have the measure of this lot.
While Welwitschia poses a major threat, we feel that Victory Moon’s daughter will show that her run in the SA Fillies Sprint was just all wrong.