Top Of The Tree

Cherry On The Top wins Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas

Top Girl! Nooresh Juglall guides Cherry On The Top to an easy win

Top Girl! Nooresh Juglall guides Cherry On The Top to an easy win

Ormond Ferraris put the cherry on the top of a wonderful afternoon for one of South African horseracing’s foremost families when he sent out Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer’s Tiger Ridge flyer Cherry On The Top to win the R500 000 Gr2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas run at Turffontein on Saturday.

The day developed into something of a champagne occasion for the Oppenheimers.

Besides the fact that the winner here was bred by Triple Tiara sponsors Mauritzfontein, she is by the Wilgerbosdrift stallion Tiger Ridge, who also sired the winner of the Gr3 Acacia Handicap, Amur Affair. Tiger Ridge also sired Kavanagh, who won in Dubai carrying the Wilgerbosdrift silks within a few hours.

Another Wilgerbosdrift stallion, Right Approach, added to the celebrations, when siring the winner and second horse in the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes.

So a wonderful occasion, but less so for the supporters of the previously undefeated Espumanti, who was backed into red at 17 to 20, but could find nothing and ran a moderate fourth.

With the fancied Negev a little fractious at the stalls in her first try with blinkers, the field got away to a fair start with Anton Marcus taking Fire Wheel to lead from Wood Nymph and Secret Obsession. Delpech had Espumanti well settled in fourth, with Fortitude and Margot On Stage on her heels.

Fire Wheel continued to run freely and led from Wood Nymph into the straight with Espumanti well placed in third, and moving up threateningly.

Fire Wheel continued to lead into the 400m but Juglall was stalking her in the Oppenheimer yellow and black, and he pounced at the 300m marker as Espumanti went up and down.

Much as she had done over the course and distance back in December in the Fillies Mile, Cherry On The Top burst through the middle and strode clear as Do You Remember chased her home.

Cherry On The Top ran on strongly to win at  5 to 1 by 2,25 lengths in a time of 96,41 secs.

Winning Trainer. Ormond Ferraris has a smart filly on his hands

Winning Trainer. Ormond Ferraris has a smart filly on his hands

King’s Temptress ran a cracker to stay on well for third, while the odds on favourite Espumanti was terribly disappointing in fourth. She had every chance, and no visible excuses and she was best summed up in Mary Slack’s words, as looking ‘a bit flat.’

For the rest, Negev had no spark late and finished 8 lengths behind, while the pacesetter Fire Wheel also went backwards to finish downfield.

Winning jockey Nooresh Juglall said that everything  had worked out well, despite jumping from a 16 draw. “ She was very speedy out of the gates and made up the ground quickly. It is an honour to ride good horses like this,” he said.

Trainer Ormond Ferraris said that it was a good win and said that she had quickened well.

When taxed on whether his smart filly had Triple Tiara aspirations, he said dryly: “ Well that is the purpose of the exercise.”

Wilgerbosdrift Stud’s Mary Slack accepted the owner’s trophy on behalf of her Mum.

The Mauritzfontein Stud bred Cherry On The Top was yet another winner for Tiger Ridge on the day and she is out of the five time winning Fort Wood mare Carolina Cherry.

This was her sixth win with 2 places from 9 starts for gross earnings of R735 925.

She is no Igugu yet, but must have a realistic chance of making a serious bid for the Triple Tiara.

Result:

Gauteng Fillies Guineas (SAf-G2) (3/2)

Turffontein, South Africa, March 2, R500.000, 1600m, turf, good, 1.36.41

CHERRY ON THE TOP (SAF), 58.0, b f 3, Tiger Ridge (USA) – Carolina Cherry

(SAF) by Fort Wood (USA). Owner Mrs BD Oppenheimer; breeder Mauritzfontein

Stud; trainer OA Ferraris; jockey N Juglall (312.500)

Do You Remember (SAF), 58.0, b f 3, Silvano (GER) – Festive Occasion (SAF)

by Casey Tibbs (IRE)

King’s Temptress (SAF), 58.0, b f 3, King Of Kings (IRE) – Model Mam’selle

(SAF) by Model Man (SAF)

Margins: 2¼, ¾, 1¾

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