St John Gray’s chestnut charger Ronnie’s Candy boosted her paddock value and caused an upset when she won the R425 000 Gr1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes for fillies and mares over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday.
In a race superbly judged by Piere Strydom, the four-year-old (starting at 17-2) came from last to beat Vistula(7-2) by a length with 6-10 favourite Queen Supreme a neck back in third.
The winner’s time was 98,95.
The victory was the rampant Strydom’s third on the card.
The favourite Queen Supreme appeared to be going well under the hands but had nothing to offer late.
“I thought we were racing for second,” said Strydom “I would have been quite happy to run second so this is a bonus.”
Speaking about his decision to drop his mount out at the start, Strydom said: “We had no choice really from a bad draw and there was a lot of pace and with this headwind, those tactics would help us.
“Luckily it wasn’t such a big field so even if I sat last I didn’t have to make up a lot. With this headwind she just took me into the field and I just managed to follow a couple of horses through and I got on top of them very quickly.
“It was just a matter of being patient, and obviously having a horse with ability.”
At the presentation, a cheque for R100 000 was presented on behalf of HSH Princess Charlene which was used to bolster the stake money of the race from R325 000 to R425 000.
“With the stakes already so reduced we appreciate the extra money put into the stake by Princess Charlene,” said Strydom.
A Graystone Stud home-bred, Ronnie’s Candy is by the ill-fated King Of Kings (Sadler’s Wells ) out of the three-time winner Bennie And the Jets (Jet Master).
She has won 5 races with 9 places from 18 starts for stakes of R1 112 775.