Candice Bass-Robinson registered her second Gr2 success in the space of three weeks when the Avontuur-bred Trippi filly Live Life sprung a surprise when downing multiple Gr1 star Carry On Alice in the final strides to win the R400 000 Gr2 Sceptre Stakes.
Day one of the inaugural L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Festival proved an unprecedented success in what is an historic first for South African horseracing.
An admittedly modest crowd turned out to brave the windy conditions on a workday Friday and were treated to competitive racing – and a 16 to 1 upset in the feature to keep the feet on the ground of the boat race merchants.
The Sceptre Stakes really had looked a duel in two between the proven Gr1 winners Carry On Alice and Real Princess, but the fairytale turned into a blue Friday, in more ways than one.
After Victoria Lavelle had gone quickly, S’manga Khumalo brought Carry On Alice with a promising effort to hit the front at the 400m, with her opposition appearing to be under pressure.
At this point Live Life was some 8 lengths back and seemingly going nowhere fast.
The complexion of the race changed dramatically over the final 200m as Grant van Niekerk brought Live Life with an optimistic, and rather cheeky, looking late effort down the centre.
The 3yo daughter of Trippi quickened like a good thing and finished powerfully to peg back Carry On Alice and drew away beautifully to win by 0,75 lengths in a time of 72,60 secs.
Carry On Alice ran her usual gutsy race but appeared to tire late and withstood the late chase from Beach Goddess who was 0,30 lengths away in third.
Champery picked up her form profile marginally to grab fourth, 1,50 lengths behind SA 1000m record holder, Scandal.
The disappointment was the other Trippi filly in the contest in SA Fillies Sprint winner Real Princess who appeared to be travelling well, but changed legs late and stopped to eighth and 6,30 lengths back. This was not her run.
Live Life was no cheapie and came to races with a big reputation. She certainly confirmed that talk at her first stakes success, despite her jockey and trainer using the word ‘surprise’ in the post-race interview.
She races in the dark green and khaki of big buying owners, Hunkydory Investments (Pty) Ltd, who have high hopes with the promising looking Horizon in the Politician Stakes on Saturday. Trainer Candice Bass-Robinson is enjoying a better run and after her Gr2 Premier Trophy win on 17 December, she was thrilled about another Gr2 success so soon.
” I was concerned about her being a 3yo taking on the older classy sprinters. She surprised me but not really,” she said.
Grant van Niekerk, who found some personal better form on the day with a winning double, described the winner as a filly with a big future.
“She surprised me and I will be amped to ride her next time,” he chirped.
Sired by SA champion sire Trippi, the Cape Premier Yearling Sale R2.5 million graduate was bred by Avontuur and is a daughter of the smashing National Assembly seven-time winning speedster Viva.
This is the dam of the top-class Cold As Ice and the next in line of a wonderful female line, with Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh giving a clue to her age as she reflected back to the start of the line in her Hoog Eind Stud days!
Live Life has won 3 races with 3 places from 8 starts and took her earnings to R401 250.
She is likely to be in the Bass-Robinson SA Champions Season string.
Gr2 Sceptre Stakes (SAf-Gr2)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 6, R400k, 1200m, turf, good, 1.12.06
1 – LIVE LIFE (SAF), 54.5, b f 3, Trippi (USA) – Viva (SAF) by National Assembly (CAN). Owner Hunkydory Investments 15 (Pty) Ltd; Breeder Avontuur Farm; trainer C Bass-Robinson; jockey G v Niekerk
2 – Carry On Alice (SAF), 60.0, b m 5, Captain Al (SAF) – Carry On Katie (SAF) by Western Winter (USA)
3 – Beach Goddess (SAF), 58.0, b m 5, Kildonan (SAF) – Rock Goddess (AUS) by Giant’s Causeway (USA)
Margins: 0.75, 0.30, 1.00