Delpech’s Classic Ride

De Kock's Silvano filly looks to have top-class potential

The 2017 SA Triple Crown and Triple Tiara may be lying in tatters on the Turffontein turf but there was plenty to enthuse about on Classic Day.

None more so than Mike de Kock-trained Orchid Island’s dazzling late victory burst to win the R1 million Wilgerbosdrift Gr1 SA Fillies Classic with under a length covering the first five home.

Orchid Island (Anthony Delpech – red cap) gets the better of Safe Harbour (S’manga Khumalo) to win the Classic (Pic – JC Photos)

Carrying the sponsors’ black and scarlet, the well-related Orchid Island followed in the hoofprints  of Athina, who won the race when saddled by Joey Soma and ridden by Kevin Shea in 2014.

Mary Slack

Mary Slack – thrilling win

Thirteen of South Africa’s top 3yo fillies lined up in the second leg of the Wilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara, with first leg winner Smiling Blue Eyes the form and sentimental choice to follow up on her Guineas victory last month.

But things didn’t quite go according to the script for the favourite, who was never going well and finished closer to last on a rare Tarry fail on the day.

With Maleficent showing the way, Anthony Delpech had Orchid Island shadowing Smile Blue Eyes 15 lengths back as they came for home with many looking to be in with chances.

Maleficent faded quickly and with all the action up the outside, Bi Pot moved up dangerously, closely tracked by Safe Harbour as Orchid Island took off followed by Belle Rose wide out.

In a dogged duel to the wire, any one of five fillies could win going into the 200m, including Robbie Sage’s Oriental Oak (a former Glen Kotzen resident) sneaking up into the mix.

Safe Harbour and then Wild Orchid grabbed the lead, as Belle Rose continued to come home hard under Anton Marcus.

Anthony Delpech

Anthony Delpech – won tight finish

But the Mauritzfontein-Wilgerbosdrift retained Anthony Delpech was the man in control when it counted, and he got Orchid Island’s head down to register a second Gr1 success for his sponsors after Nightingale’s win in the Majorca Stakes on Sun Met day.

The daughter of Silvano pipped the gallant Safe Harbour by a deceptive quarter length in a time of 111,05 secs, with Bi Pot a neck back in third.

Recent Oaks Trial winner Belle Rose showed no after effects following her major effort seven days earlier and just shaded Oriental Oak for fourth. Both look big SA Oaks hopefuls on this effort.

Smiling Blue Eyes failed to spark and finished 13 lengths back.

A granddaughter of champion racemare Ilha Da Vitoria and bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein, Orchid Island is by past champion sire Silvano out of the three time winning Listed Oaks Trial winning Tiger Ridge mare, Ilha Grande.

She had beaten the boys in the Listed Sea Cottage Stakes at her penultimate start and looks a filly with a bright future.

Orchid Island has won 3 races with 3 places from 6 starts and stakes of R850 950.


Gr1 SA Fillies Classic  (SAf-Gr1)

Turffontein, South Africa, April 1, R1 million, 1800m, turf, good, 1.51.05

1 – ORCHID ISLAND (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Silvano (GER) – Ilha Grande (SAF) by Tiger Ridge (USA). Owner Wilgerbosdrift (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Mrs M Slack); Breeder Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein; trainer MF de Kock; jockey A Delpech
2 – Safe Harbour (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Elusive Fort (SAF) – Saint Isidore (SAF) by Rakeen (USA)
3 – Bi Pot (SAF), 60.0, b f 3, Judpot (USA) – Alexandra Bi (IRE) by Darshaan (GB)
Margins: 0.25, 0.20, 0.25

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