Along Came Polly is probably the best raced maiden 2yo filly in the country right now. Gavin Van Zyl’s daughter of Judpot stands tall and in a potential spoiling role here and could be the hurdle to a terrific possible Gr1 double for Sean Tarry’s For The Lads.
Saturday’s R600 000 Gr1 Thekwini Stakes to be run over the Greyville mile has all the makings of a thriller. The Golden Slipper form is the obvious guide, but there are a few who do not slot in to that measure. This throws the race wide open.
For The Lads
Sean Tarry’s Trippi filly For The Lads blew the back door off its hinges with a storming effort at any price to win the Gr1 Golden Slipper on July day. She returns for another taste of the prized fruit. This time she is drawn against the paint and as her dam won up to 2400m, we would imagine she will be even more comfortable over the extra 200m.
Throw in the tangible confidence of our new poster boy of the jockey ranks in July winning rider S’manga Khumalo, and the combination has winner written all over it. For The Lads caught punters unaware after unplaced efforts in the SA Fillies Nursery and the Devon Air Stakes. On July day she produced the effort of her career to beat Along Came Polly by a length in the Gr1 Golden Slipper, with Arcetri Pink under2 lengths back in fourth.
Along Came Polly
Gavin Van Zyl’s Along Came Polly has only run three times, but has finished second at all three runs which were in feature company. She showed plenty of toe in the Alan Robertson Fillies Championship but settled in the Golden Slipper when flying late for a one length second. That was an excellent effort as she injured her mouth. The bargain R60 000 buy looks set to enjoy the rare honour of shedding her maiden at Gr1 level in this hallowed company.
Geoff Woodruff’s Arcetri Pink looked a pure sprinter when winning her first two starts, including the Pretty Polly Stakes. She was ridden with some restraint in the Golden Slipper and ran on strongly after being baulked at the 300m marker. She finished under two lengths behind For The Lads there, and with a clear passage has reasonable prospects to turn that shortfall around.
Joey Soma’s Fort Wood filly Athina has won two of her three starts. The ease of her wins have indicated that she is very talented and last time she strode away in good style to win a Juvenile Plate at Clairwood a fortnight ago. She steps up a notch or three here.
Mike De Kock saddles recent maiden winner Adhira and the Stronghold filly, Celtic Legend. The latter was poorly drawn in the Golden Slipper and ran accordingly when finishing 8 lengths off For The Lads. Anthony Delpech rides her here and she may improve. Maine Chance Farms own the beautifully bred daughter of Silvano, Adhira.
The recent impressive maiden course and distance winner has unlimited scope and will be piloted by Weichong Marwing. She, along with Lady Chestnut, is one of only two runners in this race to have tried a mile.
Paul Lafferty sends out a coupling and would dearly love to end the season on a high after being away overseas on the occasion of his only Gr1 of the season. Admiral’s Eye ran a 2,80 length fifth to For The Lads in the Golden Slipper after running on from a poor draw. She has been luckier pulling a 3 gate this time and may challenge the obvious ones. Her stablemate Nisa’s Love is still a maiden with two fourth places to her credit. Love Struck’s full sister is drawn 12 and should struggle against the more proven sorts.
Mike Bass’ Alascan Maiden has drawn beautifully at 2 and has Bernard Fayd’herbe in the saddle. She won on debut and has been placed in all three feature starts since. Widely drawn in the recent Devon Air Stakes, she ran handily before being caught by the promising Mohave Princess. She should enjoy the trip here and it is worth observing that her dam won twice in Italy, and this included a second placing in the Gr1 Oaks.
Dom Zaki’s yard is in form at the moment and his Australian bred Tiger Quest will be ridden by Piere Strydom. The daughter of Where’s That Tiger has won two of her four outings in good style and showed elements of stamina in her post maiden win last time out on the Vaal sand. She brings an unknown form dimension into the equation here and could be a serious challenger if she gets the mile.
Mike Miller’s Glorious Moment was slow away and produced no threat to finish well back in the Golden Slipper. She did manage a third in the Devon Air Stakes previous to that and may be worth another chance.
Royalsecuritybaby was a shock winner of the Strelitzia Stakes on debut, but failed in her two subsequent Group race attempts. She should be suited to the mile, but needs to show that her debut win was no flash in the pan. She is coupled with Lady Chestnut who won her maiden over a mile at Scottsville last time out. She is poorly drawn at 13 and looks to have outside claims only.
Names in the hat
The race is wide open, but there are the obvious ones who have thrown their names into the hat. Along Came Polly is improving all the time and is yet to run a bad race. She is going the right way in every respect. For The Lads finished with a flourish to win the Golden Slipper, but her opposition will be ready and watching her this time around.
Alascan Maiden is consistent and never far off them. Athina and Adhira have both shown good promise, without any flash. It doesn’t end there, but Along Came Polly gets the nod to give Gavin Van Zyl a well deserved Gr1 win.