Rafeef Daughter Wears The Garland

Wilgerbosdrift Gr2 Bridget Oppenheimer SA Oaks

Following the exports news wave of positivity washing over SA horseracing, it didn’t take the astute Barry Irwin long to find another decent one.

The Team Valor International boss will have been thrilled with a courageous performance from the progressive Frances Ethel to win the R750 000 Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer Gr2 SA Oaks at Turffontein on Saturday.

Frances Ethel (Kabelo Matsunyane) went on smartly to beat My Soul Mate under Piere Strydom (Pic – JC Photos)

Just a week after Facteur Cheval won the $5 million Gr1 Dubai Turf at Meydan in the TVI silks for French trainer Jerome Reynier, the Brett Crawford-trained Listed Oaks Trial winner Frances Ethel stepped up for her biggest test – and emerged with flying colours under Kabelo Matsunyane.

While Mike de Kock champion Gimme A Nother sidestepped the third leg of the SA Triple Tiara to pursue a Gr1 credit in the TAB Empress Club Stakes, Frances Ethel’s victory was loaded with merit as she hit the front at the 300m with the fancied Silver Sanctuary  and My Soul Mate chasing hard, and then comprehensively outstayed her opposition.

Despite the looming presence in her wake, Frances Ethel (6-1) never looked like getting beaten and went on smartly to beat My Soul Mate (16-1) by 1,75 lengths in a time of 160,82 secs.

The favourite Silver Sanctuary (6-10) made up many lengths but had to be content with third, a further 1,50 lengths back.

Originally sold on the 2022 KZN Yearling Sale for R160 000, Frances Ethel went through the Cape Racing Ready To Run & Unbroken 2yo Sale ring for R220 000.

She was bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein and is a daughter of Ridgemont kingpin Rafeef (Redoute’s Choice) out of the unraced Fort Wood mare, Daphne Garland.

A winner of 4 of her 5 starts with 1 place cheque, Frances Ethel took her stakes earnings to R725 500.

The word from the local owners is that she could go the Hollywoodbets Durban July route. Interesting times!

Read Robin Bruss’ lead story of this past week about our glory years – which includes success for Team Valor International.

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