Richard Fourie showed he means business this season and took up where he left off with his last weekend Gr1 double by riding the winner of the new term’s first feature at Fairview on Friday.
The R110 000 Wedgewood Handicap, a 2400m non black-type feature, is world’s apart from the Champions Season Theatre Of Dreams up the East Coast. But the consummate professional, Fourie rides every race like it’s a Gr1 and displayed his fine judgement and strength in the finish here.
After Princess Varunya led early, Marco Van Rensburg took the fight to his opposition at the 900m on Crackpot and the courageous mare made most of the running to only falter late in the race.
With Crackpot shortening her stride, Northern Ballet and Tiffindell came together inside the 200m.
In a thrilling duel to the line, the Snaith Silvano pair went through the post as one, with the judges giving the verdict to Northern Ballet by the shortest of short heads. The favourite started at 17 to 10 and won in a time of 154,25 secs. The winner races in a partnership of Greg Bortz and Braam Van Huyssteen.
In receipt of 2,5kgs, Tiffindell ran a nicely improved race and looked a winner in the next stride.
Crackpot was not disgraced in third under top weight.
Sanctuary was all over the place and never really quickened – running fourth a further 4 lengths away.
The Wilgerbosdrift bred Northern Ballet is a daughter of Silvano (Lomitas) out of the unraced Solo Dancer (Al Mufti). A R150 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, she has won 5 races with 5 places from 19 starts and stakes of R353 525.