The late weather-induced switch to the polytrack at Fairview often throws a spanner into the calculations.
But the move had an emotional outcome for veteran owner-breeder Val Fenix as her Rebel King mare Maverick Girl lived up to her name with a courageous display to win the R150 000 Listed East Cape Paddock Stakes.
Ryan Munger knows the Yvette Bremner-trained 5yo chestnut well and although he had never won on her previously, the young jockey (currently at 8th position on the national log) rode a beautifully judged race from the front.
Using the back stretch tail-wind and her long-stride, Maverick Girl kept them guessing on her favourite surface as she turned into the short all-weather straight full of running.
Staving off every challenge, Maverick Girl kept rolling and had a half length to spare at the line over the ever game 3yo Madame Speaker, who looked menacing down the inside after a rest and was bidding to give Alan Greeff his fourth consecutive success in the end-of-season feature.
The winner clocked 95,68 secs for the 1600m.
Studio Blues and the well-related Perfectproportions rounded off a R38 000 quartet dividend, with just 0,65 lengths covering the top four home.
The weak tote-favourite Delia’s Delight finished downfield – although only beaten just over three lengths.
Bred by the Fenix family’s Optima Trust, Maverick Girl registered a well-deserved first stakes success and she may well have made it a winning swansong.
“It’s an emotional moment for us,” said Val Fenix as she puzzled over the fact that despite her girl being a seven-time winner with bold black-type, possessing a lovely nature and as sound as a bell, breeders were reluctant to look at ‘unfashionably-bred horses’.
“Heinrich Rix of Stonehill Stud will take her and I look forward to seeing what she produces. She is a lovely mare,” she added.
A daughter of our 2009 Equus Champion Sprinter Rebel King (National Emblem), Maverick Girl is out of the five-time winning Classic Flag mare, Seductress – who raced in the same silks.
A winner of 7 races with 15 places from her 33 starts, Maverick Girl has banked R580 863.
Munger rode a well-judged race and may well get some more opportunities from the Bremner yard with the departure of first-choice rider Lyle Hewitson to Hong Kong next month.