Tame The Tiger

Listed Swallow Stakes at Turffontein tonight

Tiger Quest

Try Tame This! Dominic Zaki’s speedy Tiger Quest should have the measure of her opposition on Tuesday evening.

This game has a knack at times of falsely labelling form stables and form jockeys based on perception. One trainer who has a genuine feel though for keeping horses on the boil and programming them sensibly is Dominic Zaki. His Australian bred Tiger Quest looks capable of registering her fourth consecutive win in the Listed Swallow Stakes at Turffontein on Tuesday evening.

Two winners in a month and the media are scream-ing the clichés. We are all guilty of it at times. ‘Turned the corner’ and ‘bang in form’. But ask any trainer. The bottom line is that they are really only as good as their last winner and Zaki’s just happens to be quite recent.

A Menace

Zaki produced our banker of last Tuesday evening in the gallant Dennis The Menace, and we are looking at him to deliver the money again. Genuine class and some serious sprinting ability characterise a high quality field of 3yo fillies in this race, and while on paper, Dom Zaki may appear to have found a good race to win, he takes on some stiff competition in the form of the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup winner Winter Star, and the consistent Pretty Polly Stakes victress, Arcetri Pink. There are a few others too.


Tiger Quest has won fifty percent of her ten starts and is a filly who just seems to get better and better. The daughter of the former Mike De Kock trained Where’s That Tiger (who is relocating to South in February), has plenty of natural pace and grinds her opposition with her speed. She beat Arcetri Pink over 1000m at Turffontein a fortnight and looks set to handle the extra kilo and the 160m further on Tuesday evening. She showed her resilience with an earlier win over the Vaal 1200m on the sand, and has won over this course and distance.

In The Pink

Geoff Woodruff has been churning out the winners of late and his Pretty Polly Stakes winner Arcetri Pink is, as we have observed, a kilo better off with Tiger Quest after running a 2,25 second to her last time out. Arcetri Pink, despite being thought to have potential over further, has proven herself to be a very competitive sprinter and will be cherry ripe for this race.

Big Numbers

The 2013 Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup winner Winter Star returns from a rest following her big payday eleven weeks ago. She is a very smart filly who has won over the course and distance and her record of 4 victories from 6 starts says it all. In receipt of 2kgs from the topweight, she is fast and versatile and will make Tiger Quest work for a win.


David Niewenhuizen’s Malhub filly Virgo’s Babe is an interesting runner, who won the Gr2 SA Nursery at her second start. What makes comparisons with her and Tiger Quest so interesting is the manner in which the Zaki runner has progressed, while Virgo’s Babe has not trained on.

Virgo’s Babe in fact beat Tiger Quest twice in April by a collective six lengths plus, yet is currently rated 15 points inferior to her. The reality is that Virgo’s Babe has failed to produce another winning effort since her SA Nursery shock and even in receipt of 4,5 kgs from Tiger Quest, looks unlikely to do so here.

Lack Pace

Joey Soma has done a terrific job with the talented Wilgerbosdrift filly, Athina. She comes off a seven week break after a great second behind Close The Gap in the Gr3 Gauteng Fillies Mile, and while she will be running fresh here, could battle with the speed required to match some of the higher ranked speedsters.

Diane Stenger trains the lovely grey Joshua Dancer filly, Samba Serenade. A winner of 2 of her 8 starts, she enjoys a 4kg turnaround at the weights with Corne Spies’ Boarding Call, whom she beat over Tuesday’s course and distance at her penultimate outing.

Looking For Money

Boarding Call is fit and consistent but has a tough task here and may lack the genuine class of the top three. Alec Laird’s cleverly named Var speed queen Var’s Die Geld comes in on bottomweight with recently newly qualified Julius Mariba in the saddle. She is in here under sufferance but looks quite progressive and she is not a tearaway type and can be settled. She was bumped in running last time over the course and distance and then only beaten 1,5 lengths by Samba Serenade, whom she meets on 2kgs better terms.

Quest For Glory

The 2014 Swallow Stakes looks likely to produce a humdinger of a finish, with chances to any of the top three, and consideration too for the bottomweight. Tiger Quest is progressive and fit. She looks to have the measure of Winter Star and Arcetri Pink. And if you don’t feel it is as easy as 1,2,3, then include Var’s Die Geld as a kicker.

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