Fast Rising Stars

Gr1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein on Friday evening

Arcetri Pink wins the Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas at Turffontein 2014-03-01

Gauteng Guineas winner Arcetri Pink should be a major player in the Friday evening feature at Turffontein

It takes a top class racer to win this one and a superb field of fifteen fillies line up for the R1 million Gr1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes to be run over 1600m under the Turffontein lights on Friday evening. The 3yo’s stand out on recent form despite the ominous presence of the 2013 Triple Tiara victress, Cherry On The Top.

The recent roll of honour of a race that is named to acknowledge a legendary owner and one of his great racehorses of the past will lend substance to the reality that it takes a very good sort to win this mile contest.

One Visitor

The race was won by Cape raider in Brett Crawford’s Thunder Dance last year and there is only one genuine raider this time round.

Dennis Drier brings the very smart 2013 Victress Stakes winner Jet Aglow to town. The daughter of Jet Master has been rested 12 weeks since a smart third behind champion Beach Beauty in the Gr1 Paddock Stakes in January. She is well drawn at her first start in Gauteng and a lot will hinge on her fitness and how she travels.

The star attraction will be the 2013 Triple Tiara winner Cherry On The Top who has pulled an awful draw on her return from an unplaced effort in the Sansui Summer Cup 18 weeks ago.

While she is the highest rated runner in the field, fitness concerns and her terrible draw are likely to negate any advantages that she may have at weight for age.

On The Up

Along Came Polly wins the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes at Greyville 13-07-27

Gavin Van Zyl’s Along Came Polly showed a welcome form return in the Gr1 SA Fillies Classic last time

That brings the younger set into the picture. Gauteng Guineas winner Arcetri Pink ran on strongly from midfield in the Gr1 SA Fillies Classic to finish under a length in fourth behind Athina. She will be ridden by Kevin Shea as Robbie Fradd is working on the Australian Gold Coast.

On the SA Fillies Classic run, both Along Came Polly and Arcetri Pink’s stablemate Not Sulking hold her. Along Came Polly showed a welcome form return there from the worst of the draw and if she adapts to the drop to the mile, she will be a major runner.

Her stablemate, the year older Tip Toe, ran a cracking second behind Orator’s Daughter in the Jacaranda Handicap. That was a courageous run from a poor draw by the lightly raced daughter of Trippi.

Not Sulking gets the services of Anton Marcus but is drawn poorly at 13. She was a major player in the SA Fillies Classic blanket finish and appears to be overdue to score her third win.

De Kock Duo

Mike de Kock saddles Espumanti and Festival Of Fire and it could be significant that stable jockey Anthony Delpech has elected to ride Espumanti. She never showed in a tough Horse Chestnut Stakes a fortnight ago but is a very good sort who will be more comfortable in this company. Bernard Fayd’Herbe will make the trip from Cape Town to ride Festival Of Fire.

The daughter of Kahal was close up in the Hawaii Stakes and then ran on well behind Moggytwoshoes at her last start. She is capable of upsetting the apple cart. Sean Tarry saddles Jackodore and the out of sorts For The Lads.

Jackodore is poorly drawn but has the services of Piere Strydom. Generally regarded as a sprinter, she did win her Vaal sand start over a mile by five lengths and could be the surprise package against company in which she has been seldom tested.

Classic Illusion

Classic Illusion seems out of form

Lesser Lights

It is difficult making a case for the out of form sorts. These include Gary Alexander’s Classic Illusion, who jumps from a 1 draw but has been out of sorts lately. Dominic Zaki’s Sea Shadow has been rested ten weeks and looks held by Espumanti.

Weiho Marwing’s Uptothe-moon was slow away and ran a poor races in the Jacaranda Handicap at end March. Louis Goosen’s Negev has never quite reached the heights predicted for her and was also unplaced in the Jacaranda Handicap. Steve Moffat’s Luala won her last start but is way out at the weights here and will need to improve dramatically to match strides with the class that she faces.

Young Guns

There is little to choose between the smart 3yo’s Arcetri Pink, Along Came Polly and Not Sulking on the SA Fillies Classic finish.

The youngsters are preferred to the older brigade who are generally less fit on average and with the exception of Jackodore, Festival Of Fire and Tip Toe, probably need to show a bit more.

Empress Club: Pure Gold

A champion racehorse and former SA Horse Of The Year, the brilliant Empress Club was bred in Argentina and imported as a yearling by Laurie Jaffee to South Africa.

Baptised the ‘Galloping Goldmine’, she won 15 of 20 races, including eight group I stakes, and was a five-time South African champion. She was exported to the USA where she won the 1994 Gr3 Hillsborough Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Empress Club retired to Gainesway, then operated by the late Graham Beck, with a record of 16 wins from 26 starts and earnings of $1,155,235.

Her first foal was a Lyphard colt. Named Azouz Pasha, he was an English stakes winner. Empress Club’s other two winners were Northern Hemisphere winners. Empress Club produced six named foals. Her last foal was a 2004 colt by Thunder Gulch.

She died suddenly on 19 December 2004 at Gainesway Farm near Lexington. Owned by South African owner Laurie Jaffee, the stakes-producing daughter of Farnesio out of the El Gran Capitan mare Elysee was in foal to Gainesway stallion Orientate.

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