The R150 000 Listed Oaks Trial Handicap run at Turffontein on Saturday produced a dramatic finish with the winner having to survive an objection. Robbie Sage’s outsider Tuscan Lass unleashed a powerful finishing burst to win a good race under Fransie Herholdt.
Equine dodgem cars and objections have been popping up in the Turffontein features in the past few weeks, and while it is probably largely indicative of the very competitive nature of the racing, they are also nerve wracking for punters and put great pressure on the shoulders of the Stipes.
One can only feel that they got this one right though, as Tuscan Lass was clearly finishing best of the top three, and Fransie Herholdt’s brave call to take a gap as his mount bumped Bay Princess en route to her emphatic victory, was the winning split second call at the end of the day.
Catraz set the gallop from Neon Tiger and Magic Approach, with Rue De Rivoli further back. Moikavano was five lengths behind at this stage of the game with Madame Ming dropped out to last.
The order remained much the same as they charged into the home run, as Strydom moved the favourite Moikavano into a striking position and going well on the bit.
Inside the final 300m Neon Tiger continued to gallop as she was challenged by Moikavano, with Bay Princess also looking dangerous.
But in a matter of strides Herholdt switched Tuscan Lass out for her run and she galloped clear to register a surprise win at 11 to 1.
Tuscan Lass beat Neon Tiger by 1,25 lengths in a time of 126,50secs.
The Van Zyl’s 50 to 1 outsider Bay Princess ran a cracker to run third, while Moikavano had moved up dangerously, but went a touch one paced late and faded to fourth.
Tuscan Lass had only won her maiden two weeks previously, and showed excellent progress to record a first stakes win.
Winning trainer Robbie Sage said that Tuscan Lass was a difficult filly but that she had been well ridden. In a reference to the bumping incident, he said that it was ‘a fair result as she was climbing over the horses ahead of her.’ Sage also said that the fitment of blinkers had helped, together with the tactics of holding her up for a run.
Winning jockey Fransie Herholdt said that he was surprised by the slow pace. “I was positioned on the fence but a little out of my ground. I was very impressed with the way she picked it up. I didn’t touch her with the stick, and to pick it up like that off that pace was good. She won really well,” he said.
Tuscan Lass is a Highlands Stud bred daughter of Spectrum out of the once winning Red Ransom mare, Italian Summer.
She cost R125 000 at the National Yearling Sale.
She took her career scoresheet to 2 wins and 5 places from her 9 runs for earnings of R194 000.
The winner looks to be improving with exposure to increased ground, and she may yet develop into something rather special. The SA Oaks will be her next stop.