The Magnolia Handicap for fillies and mares over the straight 1160m at Turffontein on Saturday went the way of the solitary three-year-old in a field of 15 when Fair Rosalind arrived with a perfectly delivered late run to land the spoils with considerable comfort. Fitted with blinkers for the first time after a disappointing last effort when well supported in a Gr 3 event over 1400m, Fair Rosalind regained the form which had seen her dead-heat for first place with promising Nova Zembla in a set weights event over 1200m on the Turffontein inner track in October, writes Matthew Lips.
Fair Rosalind was an easy-to-back 8/1 chance in a wide open betting race, where Onehundredacredwood attracted plenty of support to start as the 4/1 favourite ahead of 13/2 joint second choices Mary Lou and Apple Princess. There was no shortage of pace from the start, with 2009 Magnolia winner Purple Lake disputing the early running along with Roses For Lizzy as Delightfull Diva raced right up with the action as well. Paramo, Mary Lou and Catherina Lady were not far away as Onehundredacredwood raced a few lengths off the speed, with Fair Rosalind and Apple Princess quite some way off the pace.
Mary Lou and Paramo had the measure of the early leaders coming inside the final 300m, with Paramo leading into the last furlong and making the best of her way home, but Fair Rosalind was starting to unwind her challenge wider out. Under the unmistakeable profile of Willie Figueroa zooming in for the kill, Fair Rosalind asserted her superiority inside the last 100m and won by 1.25 lengths going away from Paramo, with Apple Princess running on stoutly to be a further 1.5 lengths behind in third, although never really looking as though she would trouble the two that beat her. Mary Lou – s stable companion to the winner – finished fourth, with Onehundredacrewood a never dangerous fifth.
Purple Lake had been extremely well handicapped –thanks to the set weights race rule – when she won this race twelve months earlier, but such was certainly not the case here and she was soon beaten under 60 kgs joint top weight. Sidera made no show in her first start since a bitterly disappointing display in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas in February, but she is better suited to considerably more ground and hopefully this run will bring her on with future races in mind.
Fair Rosalind may well be best suited to sprinting, having only once been beaten in races up to 1200m but having not shown the same spark when tried over further. On pedigree there is still every reason to believe she will go further than 1200m, though. Her sire Count Dubois won the Gr 1 Gran Criterium over 1600m in Italy, while her USA-bred dam For Rosalind (by Thunder Gulch) won five races over 1400/2000m in South Africa and finished second in the Listed Ladies Mile. Bred at Highlands Farms Stud, Fair Rosalind is the first foal of her dam and was acquired for R100 000 at the 2009 National Yearling Sale. Trained by Paul Matchett, she has won four times from eight starts and earned R246 462.
Magnolia Hcp (SAf-G3) (12/4)
Turffontein, South Africa, December 4, R165.000, 1160m, turf, good, 1.06.47 (CR 1.05.12).
FAIR ROSALIND (SAF), 52.5, ch f 3, Count Dubois (GB) – For Rosalind by Thunder Gulch. Owner G van Lear; breeder Highlands Farms (SAf); trainer P F Matchett; jockey G Figueroa (R103.125)
Paramo (SAF), 52.0, ch m 5, Western Winter – Paraguaya (ARG) by Country Doctor
Apple Princess (SAF), 55.5, gr m 5, Announce (SAF) – Apple Fair (SAF) by Fine Edge (GB)
Margins: 1¼, 1½, nk
Also ran: Mary Lou (SAF) 59.5, Onehundredacrewood (SAF) 54.5, All Afire (SAF) 54.0, Arewehavingfunyet (SAF) 52.0, Valley Of Rubies (SAF) 55.5, Catherina Lady (SAF) 58.5, Sidera (AUS) 60.0, Purple Lake (SAF) 60.0, Generous Anna (AUS) 55.5, Roses For Lizzy (SAF) 56.0, Lulu Belle (SAF) 52.0, Delightfull Diva (SAF) 52.5