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Gr3 Acacia Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday

Orator's Daughter wins in Vaal 7 March 2013

Orator’s Daughter will have needed her latest outing and could be anything

It’s always an exciting time when Guineas Day comes around in Gauteng as it signifies the first legs of both the Triple Crown and Triple Tiara. One of four graded races on the afternoon, the Gr3 Acacia Handicap usually attracts a very useful field, and has proven to be a stepping stone for many en-route to better things.

Indeed, back in 2011 Dancewiththedevil gained her first piece of black type in this event, and she went on to win five grade one races. Heading the weights this time around are both Classic Illusion and Demanding Lady. Classic Illusion went twelve starts without a win after landing a MR89 Handicap in Nov ’12, but she has bounced back in recent months to win two Gr3 events.

This daughter of Kahal has gained three of her five career wins over today’s distance, but she does have a poor draw here, and the younger horses do have greater scope for improvement.

Demanding Lady was third in this race last year. She was beaten fair and square by six and a half that day though, and having only raced once when beaten 19 lengths since, she is not easy to fancy here.

Last Year’s Winner

The winner of this race last season was the Mike De Kock trained Amur Affair. She races off a mark 4 points higher here, but interestingly she carries the same weight of 56,5kg.

She performed with credit in two Gr1 races after her success in this event last year, but her efforts since have been below par and she did fold tamely when well weighted in a conditions race last time out.

Break Of Dawn

A winner of five of her 22 starts, Stuart Pettigrew’s charge is as consistent as they come. She ran on strongly in her latest start on turf and was only beaten three quarters of a length by Love Vivien.

She found one better on the day and although taking everything into account she is better off at the weights here, Love Vivien looks sure to improve further with Robbie Fradd back in the saddle.

Go Indigo

On this day two seasons ago Go Indigo won the Fillies Guineas and at that stage of her career she looked to have a very bright future ahead of her.

Since then though, she’s managed to win just two plate races and a handicap in 24 starts. She did have excuses when downfield behind Love Vivien last time out though, and she did find the winner’s enclosure in her penultimate start.

Orator’s Daughter

Trainer Alec Laird has been in tremendous form this season and in the lightly raced Orator’s Daughter he must hold a serious chance of landing the spoils here. After running on strongly to shed her maiden tag at the first time of asking this daughter of Oratorio went on to win three in a row and then ran fourth to Cherry On The Top in the Gr1 SA Fillies Classic.

She was off the track for ten months after that effort and her only outing since was when a running on fourth behind Uptothemoon on the first day of last month. She will have needed that latest outing and with Anton Marcus now in the saddle she can improve stacks.

Weiho’s Bid

Placed in two Gr1 events as a juvenile, the Victory Moon mare Uptothemoon is more than capable of winning a race like this on her day, and a lot of the recent form does revolve around her.

She’s been coming to hand nicely since returning from a layoff in November and was finishing strongly when behind both Go Indigo and Love Vivien in recent starts. She got the better of the useful Negev in a classic finish last time out and with that one having won since she must hold some kind of a chance.

Stable companion Sky Pirate is without a win in nine outings and is marginally out at the weights. She’s more often than not seen out over further and although she gets the current national jockey’s log leader S’manga Khumalo in the saddle others are preferred.


Formlines through Negev also make Euphoria a serious runner. Although this 4yo Kahal filly has only managed to win three of her twenty career starts, she did beat Negev well in handicap company last time out, and back in third was Love Vivien. Euphoria was finishing best of all that day and although she is now 2kg worse off at the weights with Love Vivien she could confirm the form.


After a spell in the wilderness the stable of St John Gray has been coming to form in recent weeks and he saddles Formation. This 6yo Sarge mare is clearly much better on the sand where she is rated 22 points higher, and she is rarely seen on turf.

She did run second in this race last season though, and she showed that she was close to her best on the surface when third to Santa Carolina in her penultimate start. She could place again.


Although Flitter has been keeping good company, she is without a win in 16 outings now and will more than likely find a few two good again here.


This lightly raced 3yo has been thrown in at the deep end since winning on debut and is already contesting her third Gr3 event. At first glance she looks held on her run behind Love Vivien in January, but she was returning from a two month break that day, and has since caught the eye running on stoutly when third behind Tresco.

Love Vivien

As with Uptothemoon, there is plenty of recent collateral form surrounding the lightly raced 4yo Love Vivien. She’s very closely matched with both Euphoria and Uptothemoon at the weights, but having had just the nine outings, she should have the greater scope for improvement.

Music Affair

Off her current mark of 74 Music Affair is 3,5kg under sufferance and on that would look to be out of it. Stephen Moffatt’s charge was rated 7,5kg higher less than six months ago though, and she was only beaten a neck by Uptothemoon on 3,5kg worse terms in her penultimate outing. If the more lightly raced runners do not show improvement she could pop up at a big price.

Team Tarry

Currently second in the national trainer’s log, Sean Tarry saddles all of Filly Bushwacker, Amber Orchid and if getting a run City Of Athens. The 7yo Filly Bushwacker has not won since 2011 and her two previous efforts in this race have seen her beaten a minimum of eleven lengths.

As with Filly Bushwacker, Amber Orchid is in under sufferance on her current mark, but that by no means tells the whole story. She showed real potential earlier, but her four outings over the past twelve months have been too bad to be true. She is best just watched for now. The most likely to be a threat from the stable then is the reserve runner City Of Athens.

A winner of two from five before finishing lame last time out, this 3yo daughter of Encosta De Lago had been coming along nicely. She takes a big step up in class here, but could still improve plenty.

About The Pace

With no confirmed front-runners in the field there is a chance that this could develop into a sprint. Quite a few do prefer to race up handy though, so hopefully there will be a healthy gallop. Fillies & Mares Handicaps are notorious for producing big results and with little between the fit runners here, there are plenty with chances.

Orator’s Daughter made a pleasing return last month and she was highly regarded before her long layoff. The second run after a rest brigade will already have crossed her off their list, but she does now get Anton Marcus in the saddle, and could yet turn out to be anything. She gets the vote.

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