Putting a frustrating SA Champions Season well behind her, the top-class Dynasty 4yo Front And Centre produced a sustained finish to win Saturday’s R200 000 Gr3 Diana Stakes at a sun-drenched Durbanville.
Brett Crawford’s 2018 Cape Fillies Guineas winner had little luck with the barrier draw gods in three starts in KZN last term, but still managed solid seconds in both the SA Fillies Guineas and the Woolavington.
Returning from a thirteen week break on Saturday, the Sporting Post best bet and top-rated runner was backed into 9-11 favourite and won more readily than the official half length margin suggests.
Just when the courageous Helen’s Ideal looked to go all the way, Front And Centre came forward under a perfectly timed ride by Ridgemont Highlands rider Greg Cheyne to hold off the flying late challenge of Poinsettia Stakes winner Freedom Charter in a time of 83,60 secs.
Helen’s Ideal hung on for third, a further 0,75 lengths back.
Raced by Ridgemont, the winner was a R300 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1 purchase.
Front And Centre, a half sister to Ridgemont Highlands Gr1 winner sire Potala Palace (Singspiel), is a daughter of perennial champion producer Dynasty (Fort Wood) out of the UK Gr3 placed Alzao mare, Alignment.
The Highlands bred Front And Centre has won 5 races with 3 places from 9 starts for stakes of R1 320 625.
Gr3 Diana Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Durbanville, South Africa, October 5, R200k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.23.06
1 – FRONT AND CENTRE (SAF), 60.0, b f 4, Dynasty (SAF) – Alignment (IRE) by Alzao (USA). Owner Ridgemont (Nom: Mr Wayne Kieswetter); Breeder Highlands; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey G Cheyne
2 – Freedom Charter (SAF), 58.5, ch m 5, Elusive Fort (SAF) – Betty Burke (SAF) by Captain Al (SAF)
3 – Helen’s Ideal (SAF), 57.0, b f 4, Ideal World (USA) – Tequila Blush (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA)
Margins: 0.50, 0.75, 0.75