Gr3 Yellowwood Handicap over 1800m at Turffontein (stand side) on Tuesday
Heading up a very busy program in midweek is the Gr3 Yellowwood Handicap at Turffontein on Tuesday night. There’s plenty of class amongst the twelve going to post, but question marks are aplenty, writes Steve Furnish
Shouldering top weight of 61kg is the Gr2 Gold Circle Oaks winner Princess Of Light. One of two runners from the stable of Geoff Woodruff, Princess Of Light has been going from strength to strength since shedding her maiden tag a year ago and although she is more often than not since out over further than today’s trip, she has won over the course and distance. She won the Oaks going away in her final start of last season and she couldn’t have been more impressive when winning a pinnacle event on her seasonal debut last time out.
Stable companion Queen Mira looked a top sort in the making when winning her first three career outings, and has more often than not contested feature events since. This daughter of Danehill Dancer has regularly been in the frame, but amazingly, she is without a win in nineteen starts since completing that early hat-trick.
At least as effective on sand, Michael Azzie’s charge won this race back in 2009. Queen’s Bay would undoubtedly have a shout again if reproducing that earlier form, but she has not been at her best of late and having been reported as lame, or not striding out, in three of her last five outings, she is perhaps best just watched here.
A bit of an enigma, the Silvano mare Reconcile commands a very nice turn of foot on her day and has threatened only to deceive on a number of occasions. She was finishing as well as anything when running on from the rear to fill seventh position beaten just 2,9 lengths in the Gr1 Paddock Stakes in January, and a reproduction of that effort would certainly put her in the shake up here. Reconcile returns from a break and has her first start for her new stable here. It will be interesting to see how she goes.
Glen Kotzen’s charge was registering her fifth win from just seven starts when successful in the prestigious Gr1 Woolavington over 2000m at Greyville in Jun ’10. She went on to run a good second in the Gr1 Garden Province in her final start in that season, but sparingly raced since, she has only managed to fill a place in the Quartet once in seven starts. She has in the main been taking on stronger than she faces here though, and she did run close to her rating when fourth in a conditions event last time out.
Is Imperious Star the stable elect on the day though? Sean Cormack rode both Imperious Star and Queen’s command last time out and he stays with the latter. Queen’s Command showed considerable improvement during the winter months and was particularly impressive when winning a MR87 Handicap over today’s distance with a ton in hand in her penultimate start. She was only beaten by the narrowest of margins over shorter by the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes winner Felix The Cat last time out.
The highest rated of globetrotter Mike De Kock’s two runners is the Gallileo mare Sidera. After winning her first two career starts, Sidera was sent off a well supported favourite to win the Gr3 Gommagomma Fillies Mile back in 2009 and duly obliged. She’s had two very lengthy layoffs since finishing down field in the Fillies Guineas in her next start, and in her two outings since her return she hasn’t shown that same level of ability. Sidera has undoubtedly been coming to hand though, and in this her third run after the rest, Anthony Delpech jumps into the saddle for the first time since her return. The dark horse.
As a 3yo, stable companion Amur Affair should be receiving 9kg from her older rivals and as a result is a minimum of 5kg under sufferance. With that in mind she clearly has a very stiff task here, but she has shown flashes of real ability and could yet improve considerably.
After winning three in a row, George Scott’s charge went on to finish a runner up to Hollywoodboulevard in both the Fillies Mile and Three Triokas Stakes last season. She was off the track for five months after those efforts and although she has run within a half length of the July runner up Pierre Jourdan since her return, her ratings have all been below best.
End Of Season
Along with the stable, St John Gray’s charge has come to hand nicely in the past couple of months and has fully deserved her two recent wins. Although End Of Season is usually seen out over shorter, she did win her only previous start over today’s distance. She takes a big step up in class in her bid for the hat-trick here, but she is clearly still improving.
Alec Laird’s charge found the going a bit tough when stepped up in class after winning three in a row last season and although she ran a fair third to End Of Season when heavily supported on her return from a five month break last time out, she does once again look up against it here.
The Jallad filly African Icon has been silently progressing nicely and her stable has hit top form. She is another taking a big step up in class here though and marginally in under sufferance to boot, has no easy task.
About The Pace
With most preferring to race up with, or close to the speed, a fair pace should be forthcoming. As well as winning the Natal Oaks, Princess Of Light made the now legendary Igugu work hard for a while in the Gauteng Oaks. Shouldering 61kg to victory here is a big ask, but she is in form and clearly still improving. She gets the vote.