About To Bloom

Pinnacle Stakes at Turffontein Tonight


Flower Power. Mike De Kock’s smart mare Welwitschia looks a banker bet at Turffontein on Tuesday evening

Mike De Kock’s top mare Welwitschia gets a long overdue opportunity to get back to winning ways when she runs from a good draw at Tuesday evening’s Turffontein standside meeting. The notoriously slow starter is her own worst enemy, but she looks too good for her nine opponents over the 1400m.

It is quite difficult to believe that the UK bred daughter of Oasis Dream has not won a race for over a year. The frustrating tale is well illustrated by her five second places in nine runs in the interim, which included a rousing and impressive second ahead of the champion What A Winter in the Gr1 Mercury Sprint run over 1200m at Clairwood towards the end of last season.

She is certainly the class runner in this Pinnacle Stakes.Confined to sprints for the latter part of her career, Welwitschia has shown good ability up to a mile and has a turn of foot that should make her a banker bet for many. The fact that she goes the 1400m also reduces the impact of any dallying at the start, and she looks a handicapping penalty kick.


The serious opposition is limited, but both Jackodore and Sea Shadow are capable. Piere Strydom rides the Toreador mare Jackodore for Sean Tarry. The 5yo mare is a very capable winner of 6 races, but has rather surprisingly only ever gone this trip once in her 23 career starts. That was in the 2011 Gr3 Starling Stakes when finishing a good fourth to winner, Katy’s Lane.

Jackdore ran second on the sand on Thursday and her her last turf effort when beaten close on ten lengths behind Here Comes Billy in the Gr2 Merchants was not inspiring, but she should find things a lot more comfortable back against the girls.

No Disgrace

Sea Shadow was fancied by her trainer to give Espumanti a run for her money in the recent Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge, and after making the pace for much of the trip, was not disgraced in second. Sea Shadow in fact came back strongly there, and while she had no chance with the winner, she easily beat the rest.

The 200m shorter will be in her favour and she could burgle it from the front if allowed to dictate matters. The Dominic Zaki trained daughter of Victory Moon jumps from the paint here and has Gavin Lerena, who knows her well, in the saddle again.

Welcome Back

The rest look to be under pressure, but it is rather pleasing to welcome back Lucky Houdalakis’ Dynasty mare, Demanding Lady to formal action. The daughter of Dynasty won the 2012 Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge and is one of the games mares in the game. She has been rested 41 weeks though, and while she has the ability and class to win this, may be caught short by a lack of match fitness.

Robbie Fradd rides Gary Alexander’s Kahal mare Classic Illusion, who was a well beaten seven lengths in the Ipi Tombe Challenge. She is generally suited to 400m further than what she travels on Tuesday, but her 1,50 length fourth to Ilha Bela in the Gr3 Joburg Spring F&M Challenge show that she has the toe to realising place aspirations at best.

Poor Form

Welwitschia’s stablemate Amur Affair ran a shocker in the Ipi Tombe Challenge when trailing in stone last. She has run some excellent races, but would have to be assessed as ‘overall disappointing’ if one looks back on the promise she showed early. Her form has tapered negatively in the past six months, and she would be a shock winner. The lightly raced Uptothemoon was comprehensively beaten by Sea Shadow in the Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge, and even with a 3kg turnover in the weights looks unlikely to turn the tables.


Welwitschia is top class and if she doesn’t lose too much advantage at the jump, she is a confident selection to register a low profile seventh victory. Sea Shadow is a powerful galloper who will try and escape early.

The 200m shorter here is bound to play into her favour, and she is probably the only genuine danger. Piere Strydom won’t agree with us, and his genius could be the catalyst for Jackodore to up her game.

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