An inspired rush of quick thinking initiative halfway down the home straight by jockey Chase Maujean sealed victory for the Geoff Woodruff-trained Silver Stripe in the R150 000 Listed Spook Express Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday.
Maujean is one of the best lightweight riders around and his move to grab a three length advantage as pacemaker Bright Bronte raised the white flag at the 500m, was the match winning genius in the small field.
Only eight fillies and mares lined up in the 2450m feature and after his victory with the Australian-bred Wild Ash in 2015, Geoff Woodruff would have fancied his chances again with a powerful pair of course and distance specialist, Silver Stripe and the very capable year older, Zante.
Things worked out well with Muzi Yeni stretching the field as Bright Bronte held an eight length lead into the home straight.
It was clear the pacemaker was in trouble early and Maujean brought Silver Stripe through runners to challenge. The daughter of Silvano caught her opposition flat-footed as she grabbed a three length lead into the final 400m.
Despite a late assault by the consistent Patchit Up Baby, Maujean didn”t panic and kept his mount balanced.
Silver Stripe stuck gamely to her task and held an advantage of 1,25 lengths at the line to hold the strong finishing Patchit Up Baby in a time of 154,08 secs.
Lucky Houdalakis’ longshot Balalaika ran an improved race to run third 0,45 lengths back and a length in front of the winner’s stablemate, Zante.
Zakirah was reported not striding out, while the pacesetting Bright Bronte faded right out to trail in last of the eight.
Bred by Drakenstein Stud, Silver Stripe is a daughter of Silvano out of the Gr1 winning Badger Land mare, Badger’s Gift, who won 8 races from 1200m to 1800m.
This was a deserved first stakes success for the 4yo who has won 3 races with 3 places from 10 starts and stakes of R264 250.
Woodruff had enjoyed a good day up to that point as he also saddled the Pathfork gelding Starpath who won the R250 000 HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco Maiden Plate.