Race fitness could be key to unravelling the R250 000 Gr3 Diana Stakes puzzle at Durbanville on Saturday.
With a decent draw, an impressive pipe-opener under the belt and top man Anton Marcus at the controls, Mike Robinson’s Goodtime Gal boasts the credentials to win the 1400m contest.
The Diana Stakes honour roll boasts star names of yesteryear. Peter Kannemeyer’s gallant Mrs Noah won it twice. Remember Terrance Millard’s Party Time? And Mike Bass’ top-class Sweet Chestnut was yet another superb fairer sex galloper.
Fast forward to the present and the race is run at weight-for-age plus penalties for Gr1, Gr2 and Gr3 victories in the past 18 months.
The SP top-rated Goodtime Gal looks to avenge her defeat of 2016 and bumps her conqueror Captain’s Flame in what could be an intriguing sub-plot to an interesting – albeit disappointing in numbers – contest.
A daughter of Royal Air Force, Goodtime Gal became her sire’s first stakes winner when scoring in the 2016 Gr3 Victress Stakes and this Gr1 placer certainly has the make-up to win this after an encouraging 1200m win last time.
Defending champion Captain’s Flame on the other hand returns from a 17 week break and has not won since she beat Goodtime Gal by 0,75 lengths a year ago. There is little to choose on pure ability between the two – but we will side with the Robinson runner on fitness.
Joint topweight Gimme Six won the Gr3 Umzimkhulu Stakes and Gr2 Daisy Fillies Guineas before winding up a terrific first KZN Champions Season with a fourth behind the now retired Bela-Bela in the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes. She has not run for 14 weeks since then.
Glen Kotzen’s 2016 Gr2 Golden Slipper winner Final Judgement has not won in over a year but she has been on the fringes when competing against the best of her generation and could strip fresh and keen after a ten week break. The daughter of Judpot has her first start at Durbanville and is a dangerous pacy sort.
Winter Oaks winner Whose That Girl ran a decent enough return race when running fourth and under 3 lengths behind Goodtime Gal over 1200m. She will be infinitely more effective over the extra 200m but has some catching up to do on the class fillies rated above her.
Seattle Gold returned to racing after a three month break when showing some pace and dropping out to 4 lengths off Goodtime Gal last time. Even allowing for improved fitness, she faces the Robinson runner on 1,5kgs worse terms but is a gutsy galloper who will enjoy the step up in trip.
Second of the Snaith attack, the dual Gr3 winner Nordic Breeze returns from a ten week break after a gutsy win in the Champagne Stakes at the end of last term. The daughter of Windrush appears most effective at 1400m.
Extradite is the second of the Candice Bass-Robinson contenders and is a consistent 4yo who may be outpointed on these weight terms. The versatile daughter of Mambo In Seattle is a winner at this track and could sneak a back-end of quartets position at very best.
Goodtime Gal ticks all the boxes. She is the pick to beat Final Judgement and Gimme Six.