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Princess Victoria

Champion! Glen Kotzen’s Victory Moon filly Princess Victoria could set the record straight in Saturday’s Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint

The R600 000 Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint has attracted a top quality field of thirteen flying females. It presents Equus Champion Princess Victoria with a perfect opportunity to set the record straight after a contentious unplaced effort in the corresponding race last year.

The Scottsville track has often borne the brunt of criticism from both trainers and jockeys and seldom a year passes when it doesn’t hit the news for all the wrong reasons.

The diversity in the going from one side of the track to the other and apparently choices versus instructions were at the core of Princess Victoria’s below par run when finishing 4,75 lengths behind Ebony Flyer last year. She gets her chance to make good on Saturday, but it won’t be easy.


Princess Victoria has a big question mark against her fitness, having seen no action since an unplaced effort behind Variety Club in the Green Point Stakes way back in November last year.

Packed up and ready to continue her career in the USA, she has been hanging around while the export green light is awaited and the bureacrats have unwittingly done local racing a huge favour. It is doubtful whether her connections feel that way though.

Coming out of last year’s Champions Season, the Equus Award winning Princess Victoria boasted multiple Gr1 wins in an impressive track record of 9 wins in 12 starts. She galloped under Bernard Fayd’herbe at Summerveld last Saturday and put up some good work. The joys of social media!

Trainer Glen Kotzen deserves all the credit for Princess Victoria’s performances and nobody will be more motivated and thrilled than the Paarl conditioner to stand on the winner’s podium after the race and hold the prized silverware aloft.

Mike Magic


Gate Speed? Mike De Kock’s top class Welwitschia is a big runner if not ruining her prospects at the jump

Mike De Kock is in town with a classy trio that needs to be taken very seriously. Welwitschia ran a storming second in this event last year after winning the Camellia Sprint at her previous start. She has done little wrong since, although one imagines that were it not for her starting issues, she would have added to her six win tally.

The daughter of Oasis Dream ran on strongly for third in the Gr1 Computaform Sprint and strikes us as a likely winner if she gets anything near a reasonable jump and is on terms with her field early. The UK bred Espumanti is the second of the De Kock runners, and the most lightly raced and unexposed of the three.

The 3yo daughter of Dansili won her first three starts by a collective ten lengths on the trot, before coming unstuck in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas when a one paced fourth behind Triple Tiara queen, Cherry On The Top. She is an interesting participant and Muzi Yeni will be keen to get one on the board for the man that gave him so many opportunities as a young apprentice.

Eating Fire

The Kahal filly Festival Of Fire is an interesting runner. The recent Fillies Guineas winner has won 6 of 10 starts and is a top class sort who has won from 1000m to a mile.

Her relaxed style and turn of acceleration could be just the tonic required to win this, although it is notable that Bernard Fayd’herbe, who won the Guineas on her, jumps ship in favour of Princess Victoria. And weight may have nothing to do with his decision. That is, if it was his call.


Duncan Howells’ champion 3yo sprinter Via Africa is a superb sprinter. Var’s daughter has won 5 of her 8 starts and in fact since her runaway maiden win has only been beaten twice. And then in both instances by the SA Champion sprinter, What A Winter.

That is no shame and she steps up 200m for the first time on Saturday. The question is, will Via Africa be as effective over 1200m? Why not? While we will concede that she is out of a mare who only won up to 1000m, she has a sky high cruising speed and has won her races with such authority. We feel that will carry her here.

She comes in here fresh off her excellent second behind What A Winter in the Computaform Sprint Last year’s Allan Robertson Championship winner All Is Secret returns to the scene of her greatest triumph to prove that she has in fact trained on. All Is Secret was an emphatic winner of the Poinsettia Stakes at her last start after going a little flat as the sun set on the Cape Summer Season.

It sounds like an understatement of note, but she probably is really just a very good sprinter and her downturn may be explained away as it coincided with attempts to go ground. Anton Marcus knows her well and she will be right there when the whips are flailing.


All Is Secret

Flyer! The Captain Al filly All Is Secret will not go down without a fight and Marcus tilts the scales in her favour

There are others with fair claims. These include Dennis Drier’s pair of Miss October and Sue For Peace. On jockey engagements we should assume that Miss October is the stable elect and the daughter of Var has been knocking loudly at her last two starts after losing form during the Cape’s Sizzling Summer Season.

On the Poinsettia form she has a length and a half to make up on All Is Secret, but she was slow away there and Sean Cormack won’t be making any similar mistakes come Saturday. Sue For Peace is no slouch and as a winner of 5 of her 11 starts has been a terrific filly to race for Drier’s patron, Knut Haug.

The daughter of Western Winter has some leeway to make up on All Is Secret on the Poinsettia run, where she never got into the race. That may have been an off day and Sue For Peace deserves another chance.

No Bull

Sean Tarry is another form yard to consider. He brings a Toreador coupling of Jackodore and She’s A Stunner to the KZN Capital City. Jackodore was a shock winner of the Joburg Merchants in December but weakened after being slow away when fading out just under six lengths behind What A Winter in the Gr1 Computaform Sprint at her last start. She ran unplaced in this race last year.

She’s A Stunner coughed when showing plenty of speed in the Camellia Stakes at her last outing. She stopped late there and will have to improve again to feature here.


Team Valor International won this race last year with the champion Ebony Flyer and they own the 4yo Count Dubois filly,Comtesse Dubois. Comtesse Dubois has won 4 of her 16 starts and has her second outing in KZN this season after a three length third behind All Is Secret in the Poinsettia Stakes.

She is a half kilo better off with the Marshall speedster, and has Piere Strydom in the irons, which is worth a few lengths. She could challenge for the places. The Snaiths also send out Victorian Secret, who has all of 4,75 lengths to make up with All Is Secret for the self same Poinsettia Stakes.

The daughters of Captain Al meet at level weights again, and it should be tough for Victorian Secret. That said, she is bound to strip a fitter filly and should get a lot closer.

Royal Rivals

This race is traditionally a hard fought affair where luck in running and split second decisions play a key joint role. Princess Victoria is a champion and is out to settle a score. Welwitschia is brilliant but a tardy start costs her every time. Via Africa is lightning fast and is back on home turf.

All Is Secret will be ridden again by Marcus and her sprint form is close to impeccable. Festival Of Fire has a top turn of foot and is bang in form. Her stablemate Espumanti is largely unexposed still. Then our national jockey log leader Strydom is lurking on Comtesse Dubois, and dare we write off Mr Drier’s Miss October? What a race!

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