Elegantly Done

Gr3 Victress Stakes - Super Elegant

Super Elegant

Super Elegant clearly enjoyed going up to 1800m for the first time when she ran on well and captured the Victress Stakes for fillies and mares at Kenilworth on Saturday. The three-year-old has been placed in several Stakes events all year and hinted at wanting a greater stamina test when full of running to win a minor race over 1600m in November, but she looked to have something to find at this level and went off as a 13/1 outsider in a field of ten, writes MATTHEW LIPS.

Gr1 runner-up and multiple Gr2 winner Beach Beauty looked like the class act of the Victress field and started as the 15/10 favourite, but she was lumbered with 61.5 kgs top weight in this conditions race and that ultimately proved to be just a bit too much. Bermuda Sloop attracted plenty of market support to start as the 33/10 second favourite from an ante-post call of 12/1, with Hollywoodboulevard the 4/1 third choice.

Beach Beauty hopped out very alertly and briefly led early on, but soon it was Croc Valley who went on to set a decent enough tempo as the top weight settled into second. Dark Journey and Tick Tock were next in line ahead of Bermuda Sloop as Super Elegant was held up around two-thirds of the way down the field. Croc Valley began to weaken halfway down the straight, where Beach Beauty came forward wider out to hit the front and try and make the best of her way home. The favourite comfortably held all her rivals at bay, except one. Super Elegant was making good headway from off the pace and proved too strong for Beach Beauty inside the last 100m, asserting herself close home under a jubilant Grant van Niekerk to beat the market leader by three-quarters of a length going away.

We Three stayed on with every chance and finished a further 1.5 lengths behind Beach Beauty in third, with her stable companion Flight’s Last three-quarters of a length behind her in fourth. Bermuda Sloop had finished 1.25 lengths ahead of Super Elegant on the same weight terms in the Cape Fillies Guineas won by Princess Victoria, but just never got going this time and was beaten a total of 5.40 lengths into a below-par sixth place. Hollywoodboulevard trailed in last, more than 14 lengths behind the winner, and while she may be better suited to less than 1800m the distance alone cannot explain this poor performance from the only horse other than Ebony Flyer who has a defeat of Igugu on her CV.

Beach Beauty was conceding 9.5 kgs to the winner, which made a world of difference when push came to shove. The Victress Stakes is something of a “trial” race for the Gr1 Paddock Stakes to be contested over the same course-and-distance in January and that is presumably the target for Beach Beauty, but the Paddock Stakes is run at WFA and a certain Igugu is fully expected to be in action that day. It’s hard not to see the Paddock Stakes as a race for second prize only, but Beach Beauty must have a decent shot at that second prize.

Super Elegant would be causing a vastly bigger surprise than she did in the Victress if she should happen to win the Paddock Stakes and not even her biggest fan will think that it’s a realistic scenario, but the Piet Steyn-trained and part-owned filly might as well take her chances. She obviously stays the distance well, and could develop into an Oaks filly later in the season if her connections send her outside of her home province in 2012. Super Elegant is a daughter of the outstanding middle distance racehorse but rather less remarkable sire Daylami, whose somewhat short-lived sojourn at stud in South Africa ended prematurely when he found himself exported to Ireland as predominantly a sire of jumping horses.

Super Elegant is the second foal and second winner of Model Man mare Pacific Gem, who won seven races over 1000/1300m and who is a full sister to Gr1 winner Gosforth Park Fillies Guineas winner Pacific Blue. Bred by Lionel Cohen’s Odessa Stud,. Super Elegant was an inexpensive R22 000 purchase from the Cape Ready To Run Sale in January of this year and has won three times from ten starts for R217 980 in stakes.


Victress S. (SAf-G3) (12/17)
Kenilworth, South Africa, December 17, R150.000, 1800m, turf, good, 1.52.05 (CR 1.48.98).
SUPER ELEGANT (SAF), 52.0, b f 3, Daylami (IRE) – Pacific Gem (SAF) by Model Man (SAF). Owner E L P Steyn and E C Thompson; breeder D Cohen & Sons (SAF); trainer E L P Steyn; jockey G Van Niekerk (R99.457)
Beach Beauty (SAF), 61.5, b f 4, Dynasty (SAF) – Sun Coast (SAF) by Capture Him
We Three (SAF), 59.5, b m 5, Silvano (GER) – Five Star Suite (SAF) by Badger Land
Margins: ¾, 1½, ¾
Also ran: Flighty’s Last (SAF) 58.5, Tick Tock (SAF) 58.5, Bermuda Sloop (SAF) 52.0, In Like Flynn (SAF) 59.5, Croc Valley (SAF) 59.5, Dark Journey (SAF) 52.0, Hollywoodboulevard (AUS) 60.0

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