Mike de Kock bids for a hat-trick of victories in the SA Fillies Classic today and, like the colts’ equivalent, he comes armed to the hilt with three smart runners.
De Kock’s Nafaayes showed courage and ability when fighting on to beat the luckless Running Brave in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas last time out. Warren Kennedy takes the ride again on the daughter of Exceed And Excel who should go very close from her 1 draw – if she stays the 1800m.
But there are plenty on the fringes who look likely to improve with fitness and the extra ground.
The King Of Kings filly Ronnie’s Candy has proven a very decent sort and continues to produce late burst finishes. One such effort saw her coming on from midfield to be beaten 1,45 lengths by Nafaayes in the Guineas last time. If staying the 1800m, Ronnie’s Candy looks likely to be suited by the opportunity to unwind and run at them late.
Anton Marcus takes the ride on the Thekwini Stakes winner Return Flight, who showed excellent pace when collared late by SA Derby winner Hero’s Honour at her last start. That was a fair showing and from a good draw, she can challenge for top honours here.
Second Request ran fair races in both the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas and Gr1 Paddock Stakes down in Cape Town. The daughter of Twice Over was considered good enough to take on the boys in the Cape Derby but was withdrawn intractable at the start. She has her first run back home and may just need the outing.
Running Brave has run two outstanding feature seconds at her last two starts and the R30 000 purchase looks to set the record straight on Saturday. The family have won up to 2400m and she would not be winning this out of turn if things go her way. She will be very fit.
I Like It failed to repeat her near giantkilling act in the Fillies Mile last year when slow away and well beaten in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas. She will need to improve on that level of performance here.
Mike de Kock’s Three Troika’s winner Storm Destiny moved up dangerously in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas but failed to go on with her effort and was beaten 6 lengths. On breeding the Dynasty daughter should relish the extra and may well be ridden with more restraint as she bids to set the record straight.
Alec Laird’s Chitengo caught the eye when staying on well when fifth and only 2,65 lengths behind Nafaayes in the Guineas. The well-bred daughter of Elusive Fort looks an Oaks filly but cannot be discounted after winning 3 of her first 7 starts.
Relocated from the Cape, the former Dan Katz-trained Skye Lane ran the race of her life when five lengths fourth behind star 3yo One World in the CTS 1600 on Met day. The daughter of Pathfork looks well suited to the 1800m and could be the dark horse if settled down after her change of stables.
Dagmar is the third of the De Kock trio. The daughter of Querari had excuses when cut into in the Guineas when finishing under 3 lengths behind her stablemate Nafaayes. While not at her lethal best of late, it could prove folly to write her off.Perfect Tigress was squeezed late when beaten 4,20 lengths by Nafaayes in the Fillies Guineas. That followed a fair effort when she was beaten just under two lengths by Storm Destiny in the Three Troikas. Having had a run between the Fillies Guineas and Saturday, she will certainly strip fit and could enjoy the extra.
The lightly raced Blossom (see the block note on this page) hails from a family capable of winning the classics but was outgunned in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas when failing to fire and finishing 5,20 lengths off Nafaayes. The fact that Richard Fourie sticks with the ride and she steps up to the 1800m on Saturday suggests she should not be written off.
The unknown of the 1800m makes this an acid test for many of the contestants. Nafaayes has the proven ability and she won the Guineas like a quality filly.
But there is little to choose from a host of others – so go a bit wider in the exotics and include as many as possible.