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Time Will Tell

Gr1 SA Fillies Classic at Turffontein

Athina wins the Gr3 Three Troikas Stakes at Turffontein 2014-02-08

Joey Soma’s Athina is bred to stay the 1800m and could upset

There weren’t too many clues prior to the running of the Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas earlier this month that Geoff Woodruff’s ball of fire, Arcetri Pink, would be in line to wear the 2014 Triple Tiara. Taking one step at a time though, she looks set for a big run in the R1 million Wilgerbosdrift Gr1 SA Fillies Classic at Turffontein on Saturday.

The Australian bred bay handled the sticky underfoot conditions like a pro on Guineas day and her slight stature may well have contributed to her ability there to skate over the surface.

Speed

After showing up in her earlier career as being built more on the lines of a speed filly, her victory over the mile had many pundits puzzled. She now goes a further 200m, and while the SA Oaks may prove in time to be a bridge too far, dare we risk our reputation and doubt this little machine?

Writing in a pedigree assessment after her superb Guineas victory, Karel Miedema pondered the chances of Arcetri Pink completing the Triple Crown. ‘Her sire won up to a mile and appears to be an influence up to that distance, rather than for stamina.

Her dam didn’t race, but is by Galileo, who certainly gets them to win over ground. The grandam won once over a mile, her best runners sprinters by sprint-sires. In a nutshell, the jury is still out about how far Arcetri Pink will stay. The way she ran on in the soft ground over a mile gives hope, though. Time will tell.’

And hope and excitement it is that her supporters and connections will carry into what will be a very competitive event. The statistics will show that Arcetri Pink beat seven of her opponents that face her on Saturday last time and she won going away in the process. If she takes the 1800m in her stride, she should surely win again?

Soma’s Athina

Her main opponent could be Joey Soma’s Athina who campaigns in the sponsor’s silks. The daughter of Fort Wood won the Gr3 Three Troikas Stakes last month in terrific style and she was running on quietly four lengths behind Arcetri Pink in the Guineas.

Her sire gets them to stay and she has top class form up to a mile. Kevin Shea rides her in Sean Cormack’s absence and Joe Soma knows exactly what is needed to win a race of this nature.

Stop Sulking

Arctetri Pink’s stablemate Not Sulking ran on best of the rest for a nice 1,50 length second in the Guineas. The Klawervlei Stud bred daughter of Trippi is yet to go this trip and the jury will be out on her too.

Johan Janse Van Vuurens saddles the Solskjaer filly Winter Star. A pacy and talented sort, she appears held by Athina, but her dam did win up to 2000m and she could prove a threat if she stays. She has drawn poorly though and will need a little luck in running.

Improved

Gavin Van Zyl’s Along Came Polly ran a slightly improved race in the Guineas after a frustratingly blank Cape campaign. It is interesting though that Bernard Fayd’herbe has opted to ride the Woodruff second stringer instead.

Mike De Kock’s Santa Carolina ran an absolute shocker in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas. She had won her first two starts in sensational style and she is bred to get every inch of the 1800m.

Stamina

The third of the Woodruff runners is the promising staying sort, Zephira. A winner of three of her five outings, her win in the Allez France Handicap was most impressive and she looks a serious Oaks prospect.

That said, she has won over a mile and if it comes up soft on Saturday, she could assert herself. Piere Strydom rides her and she will not be stopping late in the race. It looks a trifle tough for the rest, with For The Lads and Mohave Princess looking unlikely.

Watch The Weather

The conditions will play a major role in the outcome of an interesting race. Arcetri Pink will have to be at her best to beat Athina, who should relish the extra ground. Then Zephira and Santa Carolina won’t be hiding too far away either.

Superior Fillies Our Flagbearers

Leading racehorse owner and breeder Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud are the sponsors of the SA Triple Tiara for three-year-old fillies for the second consecutive year. The Triple Tiara is the richest series of races for 3yo’s in Africa and comprises three races: The R500 000 Gr2 Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Guineas was won by Arcetri Pink on 1 March. This Saturday’s R1-million Gr1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic is the second leg.

The third leg, the R750 000 Gr2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks is to be run over 2450m at Turffontein on Saturday 26 April. The Triple Tiara is the ultimate test for a filly and carries a R1-million bonus for winning all three legs. Igugu (2011) and Cherry On The Top (2013) are the only two fillies to have won the Triple Tiara since its inception in 1999.

Cherry On The Top’s brilliant achievement was a momentous one for the Oppenheimer and Slack family. She was bred by Mauritzfontein out of the recently deceased Wilgerbosdrift stallion, Tiger Ridge.

Mary Slack said on the inception of the sponsorship: “Wilgerbosdrift is delighted to be associated with the Triple Tiara, three top-class races that cater for the country’s best fillies. It is essential for the breeding industry that fillies race for excellence in South Africa and are rewarded accordingly. “Superior fillies produce champion racehorses and they are the flag bearers of our industry in generations to come,’ she added.

Phumelela Sales Executive Clyde Basel said: “We are privileged to have Wilgerbosdrift as the sponsor of the Triple Tiara. They have bred multiple graded winners. To have a top breeder’s brand associated with the Triple Tiara series is fantastic for the event. Many thanks to Mary Slack for making this sponsorship possible.”

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