Road Much Travelled

Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes over 1000m at Clairwood on Sunday

As we edge towards what is sure to be another thrilling Natal season, it’s the juveniles that come to the fore this weekend. The girls contest the Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes and although just nine look set to go to post, there are some very promising youngsters amongst them, writes Steve Furnish.

2yo’s can make enormous improvement at this stage of the season and with no official ratings to go by, and little between the principals in our book, the event is by no means clear cut.

Lavish Gal

Highest rated of those that have performed locally in our book is the Jeff Freedman trained Lavish Gal. After finishing third when easy to back over 800m on debut in November, this daughter of Makaarem won her only subsequent start (over today’s course and distance) going away. Supalicious was third in that most recent outing and with her having won both starts since, including the non black type King’s Pact Stakes, her form is clearly strong. Her previous two racecourse appearances were both in soft going and with plenty of rain forecast in the lead up to this event, she is sure to act in those conditions. She does return from a near three month break here, but with plenty of natural improvement sure to be forthcoming, she has to be a very serious runner.


Other than that glitch when well beaten by Lavish Gal, the Deep Sleep filly Supalicious has shown improvement with each outing. Her two wins have both been gained over today’s distance and she did have two of today’s runners behind her when winning the King’s Pact Stakes last time out. Log leader Anthony Delpech has been booked to ride and that has to be a plus. It is worth noting though that her two biggest defeats have come in soft going.

She’s A Stunner

Another with good useful form is the Toreador filly She’s A Stunner. Well supported in both starts, Deon Visser’s charge has done nothing wrong. She was drawn a little wide when running a fair third on debut at Greyville in March and she couldn’t have been more impressive when slamming Miesque’s Star over today’s distance in her only subsequent outing. She can only improve and with champion jockey Anton Marcus now jumping into the saddle, she looks sure to find friends in the ring again.

Comtesse Dubois

Is the local form the strongest here though? Neil Bruss’ charge was taken to Cape Town to get her career underway and was pitched in against very useful sorts in both starts. Indeed, she bumped the still unbeaten Trinity House on debut and with that one having comfortably won the listed Perfect Promise Sprint since, and the third horse Annie Be Quick winning as she liked in her only subsequent outing, she clearly represents some very powerful form. Comtesse Dubois won her next, and only other racecourse appearance with the expected authority and the runner up that day has since won the Fillies Nursery in the Eastern Cape. This daughter of Count Dubois is likely to encounter soft going for the first time here and that has to be a concern. She does have outstanding form behind her name though, and if reproducing her Cape Town efforts, she will not be easy to beat.

Indigo Princess

The Kings Of Kings filly Indigo Princess showed real guts and determination when winning her first two career starts. As is often the case with the early season 800m scurries though, the form doesn’t always stand up, and she did then taste defeat when stepping up in distance to 1000m. What is interesting here though, is that her first two wins were both gained in soft going, whereas her defeat came on good ground. She was also apprentice ridden for the first time and returning from a two month break when beaten over today’s distance last time out. Indigo Princess is held on a line through Supalicious, but the ground does look likely to be soft again here and with the very determined veteran Felix Coetzee now in the saddle, she is sure to be given every chance.

Tenacious Tess

Yet to miss the frame in six starts, the Parade Leader filly Tenacious Tess is still very steadily improving. Her sole success was gained over 1200m, but having finished a runner up twice over 1000m, she is equally at home over today’s trip. She’s sure to be thereabouts again, but she is held by several of the runners in this race on form.

Sole Coupling

The only coupling in the race is that of Corne Spies who saddles both Coral Colour and Rosehip. After finishing fifth to the talented Hidden Beauty on debut, Coral Colour was thought good enough to contest the listed Tony Ruffel Stakes in her next start. Once again though, albeit by some very good sorts, she was well beaten. This daughter of Captain Al has since won on the sand in Kimberley, but the calibre of the opposition there was many divisions behind what she meets here. Unlikely.

Her stable companion Rosehip on the other hand made a very promising debut when third over today’s distance just twelve days ago, and with the runner up Midnight Dragon having finished a fair fifth in the Gr3 Pretty Polly Stakes in her previous outing, she represents some fair Gauteng form. With the benefit of that first run under her belt Rosehip looks sure to come on plenty, and she is already proven on soft ground. A dark horse.

Noble Dreams

One of two daughters of Makaarem in the field, the maiden Noble Dreams is as consistent as they come. She’s shown good speed in all five of her outings and she was only picked off late when beaten by Supalicious in the King’s Pact Stakes over 1000m at Scottsville last time out. Noble Dreams is sure to be right there again when the race begins in earnest, but she does have a tendency to find one better, and should be held on that latest effort.

About The Pace

With most preferring to race up with the speed, the pace is sure to be on. She’s A Stunner, and in particular Lavish Gal, represent some good local form and both should be involved. The form lines behind Comtesse Dubois could well be even stronger though, and with her connections, via Stately and Sally Bowles, having done particularly well in this race previously, she gets the vote.

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