Command Performance – Queen’s Command

Gr3 Flamboyant Stakes - Greyville last Sunday

Queen's Command - the biggest win of her career

Queen’s Command showed terrific tenacity to run out a hard fought winner of the Flamboyant Stakes over 1600m at Greyville on Sunday. The central Durban track’s traditional New Year highlight produced a finish that was something more akin to a handicap than a conditions event, but Queen’s Command secured the biggest win of her career to date and that will have done wonders for the Australian-bred’s future prospects as a broodmare, writes MATTHEW LIPS.

Happy Archer came into this fillies’ and mares’ the race looking to have a massive chance at the weights on a course where she has already won twice at Gr1 level, but she arguably didn’t have the greatest prep coming into the Flamboyant and one sprint over 1200m on Boxing Day marked her only appearance since she lifted the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes in early July. Even so, this compatriot of the eventual winner was the class act of the Flamboyant line-up and started as the 15/10 favourite in a maximum field of 16, despite also having an unfavourable draw against her. Queen’s Command was the 13/2 joint second favourite with Secret Babe, who was supported from an ante-post call of 10/1. The rest were all available at 11/1 or better come post time.

The pace was sound from the start, with Queen’s Command’s stable companion Wings Over Skye quickly finding her way to the front and showing the way ahead of Sauna’s Rose and Reason To Believe, who was caught rather wide after jumping from the 11 gate. Ilha Grande and Dance To The Stars were next in line as Queen’s Command raced just in behind these. Happy Archer was held up some seven lengths off the lead, with Lady Magpie – runner-up in this race twelve months earlier, when it was run on the Scottsville inner track – dropped out to last after jumping from the widest stall.

Wings Over Skye began to weaken not long after turning in, where Sauna’s Rose was very much in contention as Queen’s Command quickly came forward to challenge and Happy Archer began to unwind her bid wider out. Reason To Believe weakened inside the last furlong, where Queen’s Command stuck her nose in front and stayed on valiantly under Brandon Lerena to win by a long head from Salsabeel, who ran on very stoutly at the death after jumping from a wide gate.

Sauna’s Rose finished a gallant third, another long head behind Salsabeel and in turn the identical margin in front of Cherry On The Cake, who was also running on well at the death. Happy Archer was still more or less in with a winning chance until late in the race, but she seemed to run out of steam in the dying stages and was beaten a total of 0.70 lengths into fifth place. This was a well below par performance from Sean Tarry’s filly, who met Queen’s Command on 5 kgs better terms than in a handicap and who was much better off even than that with those who finished second, third, and fourth. Secret Babe made no show before being beaten 1.75 lengths into seventh, in a race where 3.20 lengths covered the first fourteen horses to finish.

Four-year-old Queen’s Command has been admirably consistent on the whole, but she in turn didn’t need to run anywhere near to her merit rating to beat the three that finished closest to her and this is rather muddling form considering the largely unexpected blanket finish. Still, the four-year-old managed to get a Graded race win under her belt and that will more than please her connections, not least her trainer Glen Kotzen and his assistant Frikkie Greyling, who does a fine job of overseeing the Kotzen satellite stable in KZN.

Queen’s Command is a daughter of Gr3 winning Danehill stallion Commands and is the second foal of Unbridled’s Song mare Judicial Queen, who won two races over 1000m/1400m in Australia. Queen’s Command was acquired for Aus $60 000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Yearling Sales by Andy Williams’ Worldwide Bloodstock, and is co-owned by Williams and Michael Leaf. She has won five of her 16 starts, earning R353 543 in stakes.

.

Flamboyant S. (SAf-G3) (1/1)
Greyville, South Africa, January 1, R130.000, 1600m, turf, good, 95.53 (CR 92.97).
1- QUEEN’S COMMAND (AUS), 58.0, b f 4, Commands (AUS) – Judicial Queen (AUS) by Unbridled’s Song. Owner M E Leaf and A Williams; breeder G P & J A 2- Nolan (AUS); trainer G S Kotzen; jockey B Lerena (R91.500)
3- Salsabeel (AUS), 52.0, b f 3, Elusive Quality – Sarkha (AUS) by Danehill
3- Sauna’s Rose (SAF), 58.0, b f 4, Tamburlaine (IRE) – Champagne ‘n Roses (SAF) by Goldmark (SAF)
Margins: sh hd, sh hd, sh hd
Also ran: Cherry On The Cake (SAF) 56.0, Happy Archer (AUS) 58.0, Las Ramblas (SAF) 58.0, Secret Babe (SAF) 58.0, Roxie Heart (SAF) 58.0, Keep On Dreaming (SAF) 58.0, Dance To The Stars (AUS) 58.0, Wings Over Skye (SAF) 58.0, Lady Magpie (SAF) 58.0, Saltwater Girl (SAF) 58.0, Reason To Believe (SAF) 54.0, Ilha Grande (SAF) 58.0, Tree Of Perfection (SAF) 58.0

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