If The Shoe Fits

Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper today


Hat Trick? Mike De Kock’s undefeated Mensoora goes for her third straight win and needs to overcome a wide draw

The R600 000 Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper will be the centre of plenty of interest on Saturday at Greyville as the powerhouse Team Valor International showcase their undefeated Silvano filly Happy Valentine.

The Allan Robertson winner Happy Valentine was the subject of an acquisition by the astute Barry Irwin after winning that prestigious Gr1 race in a canter.


Happy Valentine

Dazzler! The fiery fast Allan Robertson winner Happy Valentine takes her first step beyond the sprints and looks a top Silvano filly in the making

The Maine Chance Farms bred filly has stayed in the care of Vaughan Marshall and it is pleasing to see that the connections have also remained loyal to young jockey Sean Veale, who just happened to have registered his first Gr1 win on her.

It will be pleasing for the connections that they have pulled a lovely 2 draw, which will go some way to validating their experiment to determine whether Happy Valentine is able to take her lightning speed into the next level.

On the face of it Happy Valentine looks likely in our book to get every inch of the extra 200m on Saturday and has won both her races full of running. She easily holds four of her opponents on the Allan Robertson formline, but comes up against some good sorts including an ominous De Kock onslaught.

Kicking Sand

While Happy Valentine is an exciting prospect, Mike Azzie will be happy to make an impact on the big day by upsetting the apple cart with the grey Mullin’s Bay filly Dover Beach. This winner of two of four starts is well drawn at 3 and will get expert assistance from jockey Glynn Schofield. In her favour she has won twice over 1400m and thus has no stamina doubts.

Big Five

Trainer Mike De Kock appears intent on winning this year’s Golden Slipper as he sends out a powerful quintet of fillies. While most trainers would be glad to grab any one of the five, we will be guided as regards the stable elect by jockey choice.

Anthony Delpech, whom we imagine would have had the choice of rides, pilots Berlinetta for Lammerskraal Stud. The daughter of Jet Master was an impressive winner on debut a fortnight back over the Clairwood 1000m. She has however drawn 17 which will do her cause no favours.

Another poorly drawn De Kock runner is the Stronghold filly, Celtic Legend, who like Berlinetta was a smooth winner on her debut at the beginning of June.

Pole Position

Love From Al reverses the De Kock bad draw trend and jumps from pole position with Karis Teetan up. She debuted at the Vaal over 1000m when going down just under3 lengths to American Pie. She was changing legs there and was subsequently rested five months before winning over the Clairwood 1200m.

The Dubawi filly Magrooma will be ridden by Karl Neisius but has a mountain to climb from her 18 draw. She interestingly shed her maiden over 1400m at Turffontein and then started quite fancied in the Devon Air Stakes. She set the pace there before tiring late in the race and may be a better proposition if dropped in from her wide draw at this track.

Golden Ticket

Jockey Bernard Fayd’herbe may have picked up the golden ticket amongst the De Kock draft with the Jet Master filly Mensoora. The beautifully conformed athlete has won her two opening starts by an aggregate of close on 8 lengths and has yet to come off the bit.

She looks a particularly exciting sort and if her talented jockey can overcome her 13 draw, she will be our first choice in a tough race. Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Winter Star is a smart looking daughter of Solskjaer who has won two of her three outings to date.

Her last victory in a winner’s race was most impressive as she quicken readily and cruised in to beat the SA Fillies Nursery winner Virgo’s Babe with ease. Piere Strydom has been engaged to ride her and she could well prove to be the dark horse of the race.


The Paul Lafferty trained Admiral’s Eye had the distinction of being the very first winner for the stallion Admire Main when winning her maiden at Scottsville. Her most recent start in the Devon Air Stakes when finishing four lengths adrift Mohave Princess, was not a disgraceful effort either. Her dam won up to 1900m and while she is poorly drawn here, she is bound to again enjoy the 1400m.

Gavin Van Zyl’s Judpot filly Along Came Polly probably ranks as the best qualified maiden two year old filly in the province. Her two career seconds in the King’s Pact Stakes on debut and then the Allan Robertson were both commendable performances and while she is technically well held by Happy Valentine, she should improve over the extra 200m on Saturday.

Boom Boom

The Pretty Polly Stakes winner Arcetri Pink was seen as something of a boom filly after winning her first two races on the trot with ease. The Australian bred daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar blotted her copy book on Champions Day when running unplaced behind Virgo’s Babe in the SA Fillies Nursery. She showed tremendous speed there but tired late and was reported to be showing signs of fatigue afterwards.

Sean Tarry’s For The Lads has shown a negative form profile since shedding her maiden in the Ruffian Stakes in her second outing. She is a pacey filly who does not appear to go through with her effort and this was underlined by her weakening in the straight in the Devon Air Stakes. She finished 8,3 lengths there behind Mohave Princess and will have to improve to feature.

Moment In Time

Mike Miller’s Count Dubois filly Glorious Moment has run three top class races which included an emphatic debut win over the Scottsville 1200m. She caught the eye at her last outing when running on strongly for third behind Mohave Princess in the Devon Air Stakes. While she is drawn unfavourably at 12 and has her first bash at a right handed track, she is worth including in all permutations.

Above Average

The Casey Tibbs filly Masked Lady has been a model of consistency since winning over the Kenilworth 1200m first time of asking. She has had two runs in KZN and both have shown that she is of above average ability and likely to pay her way.

She caught the eye in the Allan Robertson when making ground from some way off to finish a six length third to Happy Valentine. While that leaves her with some ground to make up, she looks the type that would enjoy the turn and should not be underestimated.


Kum Naidoo’s Royalsecuritybaby was a shock winner of the Strelitzia Stakes on debut when making up many lengths in the final 200m. Her subsequent run in the Allan Robertson was less impressive and she never showed after being outpaced throughout the race. Her turn of foot and breeding would indicate that she is likely to enjoy the extra 200m here, but we are still not convinced as to how good she really is.

Paul Reeves’ Sea Cat ran a distant fourth behind Happy Valentine in the Gr1 Allan Robertson at her opening Champion Season outing. The daughter of Var moved up menacingly at the 200m marker and appeared to run out of steam.

She has shown good ability to date and has already beaten the males. On the assumption that she may strip a fitter horse on Saturday, she could run into the places.


This is an interesting race where the budding star Happy Valentine will have her ability tested to the fullest. Mike De Kock runs five beautiful fillies and any one of them could be the business, while Mike Azzie’s Dover Beach also appears very progressive. Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Gauteng raider Winter Star also looks capable of challenging.

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