It takes a top-class racer to win Grade 1 races from 1200m to 1800m, and the gutsy Flower Alley mare Princess Calla proved her status as one of the best around when registering her third elite success on the trot as she smashed a high-class field of males to win the R1 250 000 Gr1 HKJC Champions Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday.
On another red-letter day at the races for trainer Sean Tarry and jockey Richard Fourie, Princess Calla (5-1) asserted her Equus aspirations as she ran out a fluent winner by 1,30 lengths from the outstanding 3yo See It Again (17-10), who got going too late and was not disgraced in second.
The tough front-running Dave The King (5-1) maintained his consistent formline, staying on for third.
Tarry, who together with Fourie, won a Gr1, Gr2 and Gr3 on the big day, and failed by a matter of R300 000 to reel in Justin Snaith in the national title chase, said that it was no stroke of genius to opt for the 1800m Grade 1 contest on the afternoon, as opposed to the Gr1 Mercury Sprint for the magic mare.
“Mario (Ferreira) and Des (Gonsalves) were behind the decision to not take on the top speedsters from a bad draw. It’s her first win over 1800m and she really is a versatile sort,” he added.
Ferreira Racing Manager Des Gonsalves confirmed that the 2024 Cartier Paddock Stakes was the target at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in the summer. Princess Calla has been placed the past two renewals.
“Winning that means an invite to the Breeders’ Cup. Who knows? We have to dream big,” he said.
She was bred by Maine Chance Farms and has now won ten of 22 starts for earnings of R3 803 475.
A daughter of Flower Alley (Distorted Humor), Princess Calla is out of the Captain Al mare Princess Royal.
Her tally of wins includes ten graded stakes scores, with the five-year-old now having won all of Sunday’s headliner, as well as the Gr1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes, Gr1 South African Fillies Sprint, Gr2 Senor Santa Stakes, Gr2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes and Gr2 wsb. co.za Southern Cross Stakes this season.
Princess Calla is likely to stay in training as a six-year-old and in the absence of export facilities, her good health suggests that is the right route to follow.
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