Bass’ Galloping Goldmine

Drakenstein owned and bred filly on track for a scintillating Champions Season

Star Trippi filly Inara came out firing on all cylinders and notched an outstanding fourth career Gr1 victory with a workmanlike win in Saturday’s slow-run R1 million Laurie Jaffee Empress Club Stakes.

A warm order in the betting and a popular exotic bet banker, Inara confirmed the paper sums that suggested she would be hard to beat – even if Weiho Marwing’s frustratingly consistent Sensible Lover (off a modest 91) gave her plenty to think about in the final stages – without actually threatening to cause an upset.


Grant Van Niekerk has Inara in charge as Sensible Lover (Weichong Marwing) and Intergalactic (Karl Zechner) chase her (Pic – JC Photos)

The talented Inara’s win in the race named after one of our great race fillies, was full of merit after her 12 week break – and demonstrated the astute brain of trainer Mike Bass with the well-thought plan to raid Joburg from the more advantageous platform of Summerveld.

The plan came together!

Trophy Wife dashed her chances with a slow jump and with Vino Veritas carting them along early at a dawdle, Grant Van Niekerk had Inara relaxed two lengths off in third.

How Sporting Post saw it

How Sporting Post saw it

Turning for home, Bernard Fayd’herbe (as he loves to do at Kenilworth) went for broke on Winter Star down the outside rail with Olma following.

The leaders faded quickly as Van Niekerk produced Inara down the middle outside with a powerful run.

Showing the benefits of running fresh, Inara galloped powerfully and started hanging in towards the right-handed crop as Sensible Lover started unwinding.

The two came close together in the final 100m with Sensible Lover appearing to hesitate momentarily.

But the cheque was in the bank, with Inara giving Van Niekerk his fourth Gr1 aboard her – after providing him with his personal first in the 2015 Paddock Stakes.

She started at 11-10 and beat Sensible Lover by a length in a time of 100,32 secs

The only 3yo in the nine horse field, Intergalactic, ran a cracker and finished best of the Tarry trio a further 0,40 lengths back in third, with Sycamore winning stablemate Tiger’s Touch in fourth.

The 7-2 shot Trophy Wife fluffed her start and was always out of her ground, eventually rattling through for a two length fifth. In hindsight, S’manga Khumalo may have been better off chasing her up early off the slow pace.

KZN challenger Olma showed again that she is a bad traveller and ran second last and 6,25 lengths back. She is much better at Greyville.

Mike Bass - welcomed on course at Turffontein

Mike Bass – welcomed on course at Turffontein

Inara has now won 7 races with 7 places from her 17 starts for stakes of R3 278 125.

Bred by Drakenstein Stud, who also race the daughter of Trippi, Inara is out of the Shirley Heights mare Mountains Of Mist, who is no youngster

An issue of difficult foaling may have contributed to Drakenstein acquiring her.

In 2004, Drakenstein privately purchased the then Irish-based 12-year-old, and some time later well-known breeder Chryss O’Reilly told new owner Gaynor Rupert that she had owned the mare and had struggled to get her in foal.

Grant van Niekerk

Grant Van Niekerk -power combo with the smart Inara

Mountains Of Mist remained in Ireland but after having failed to conceive to Coolmore stallion Montjeu two years running, she was sent to South Africa in the hope that some sun on her back would bring her back into production.

Tracing to the outstanding taproot mare Ole Liz, she is out of Seattle Slew mare Magic Of Life, who captured the Gr1 Coronation Stakes and produced Gr2 Lowther Stakes victress Enthused (Seeking The Gold) and French stakes winner From Beyond (Kris).

Named for the Goddess of wild creatures, Inara has strong claims to being the best of her dam’s progeny, but more importantly, she is compelling evidence that ‘older can indeed be better’- a debate for another day!

Inara is a Vodacom Durban July nominee and should prove a major player in the SA Champions Season features from next month.


Gr1 Empress Club Stakes  (SAf-Gr1)

Turffontein, South Africa, April 16, R1 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.40.32

1 – INARA (SAF), 60.0, b f 4, Trippi (USA) – Mountains Of Mist (IRE) by Shirley Heights (GB). Owner Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert); Breeder Drakenstein Stud; trainer MW Bass; jockey G v Niekerk
2 – Sensible Lover (AUS), 60.0, b f 4, Good Journey (USA) – Almah (SAF) by Al Mufti (USA)
3 – Intergalactic (SAF), 57.5, ch f 3, Kahal (GB) – Nojoom (AUS) by Sadler’s Wells (USA)
Margins: 1.00, 0.40, 0.60

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