Wilgerbosdrift – Mauritzfontein Ladies Rule

What a day!

So what is it about females bred at the Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein operation that makes them such a force in South African racing?

Just a few of the top fillies bred by these top studs in recent years include Summer Pudding, Sparkling Water, Cherry On The Top and Desert Miracle.

David Mollett writes that the success story continued on Champions day at Turffontein on Saturday with Gimme A Nother notching her seventh win in the Gr 1 TAB Empress Club Stakes resulting in the three year-old shortening to 7-1 for the Hollywoodbets Durban July on July 6.

The Gimme Team (Pic -Candiese Lenferna)

Of course, it made financial sense for Mike De Kock to aim the filly at the R625 000 first prize rather than the third leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer Gr 2 sponsored by the Kimberley stud.

De Kock knows what’s required when it comes to winning the Hollywoodbets Durban July with fillies with successes from Ipi Tombe, Igugu and, most recently, Sparkling Water.

A clash with Champions Challenge victor, Royal Victory (now 8-1), would be appetising.

Another filly on the mark for Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein was Frances Ethel who wasn’t expected to beat the favourite, Silver Sanctuary, in the Gr 2 SA Oaks.

However, the daughter of Rafeef made it four wins from five starts for James Crawford and the win will have been toasted by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor who acquired an interest – likely on the recommendation of Robin Bruss – in a filly who will surely make her presence felt when she finally reaches America.

Of course with the National Yearling Sales (April 18 and 19) just days away, breeders will be hoping Barry Irwin – who in 2018 told Biz News that “it is with sadness and regret” he intended to liquidate his breeding and racing stock in the country – could be among the buyers.

Two notable females who have joined the Team Valor operation in America include Ipi Tombe and, more recently, Bless My Stars who was purchased from Sean Tarry’s stable in January.

Mary Slack was on course on Saturday and she’ll be delighted to have bred the SA Oaks winner as the Gr 2 race is named after her hugely-missed mother, Bridget Oppenheimer.

Mary Slack – another champion day! (Pic -Candiese Lenferna)

The day got better for Slack when Thunderstruck notched the seventh win of his career with a game win in the Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint. The World Pool race carried a gross stake of R1 million with the winner’s cheque a healthy R625 000.

So – with the Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein breds excelling on Saturday – many buyers will be keen to see what the two studs have to offer at the forthcoming National Yearling Sales. The answer is some choicely-bred youngsters.

On the first day, Mauritzfontein will offer a daughter of Vercingetorix (lot 88) who is the fourth produce of Cherry On The Cake and a half-sister to Triple Tiara winner, Summer Pudding. Expect the Peter and De Kock stables to closely examine this August foal.

Also coming under the hammer on the first day is a Vercingetorix colt (lot 148) out of the five-time winner, Franny. She won two Gr 3 races, the Magnolia Handicap and Ruffian Stakes.

The draft from Wilgerbosdrift on the first day includes a half-brother by Danon Platina (lot 15) who is a half-brother to dual Gr 1 winner, Desert Miracle.

Later on the same day, the stud will be offering a half-brother (by Hawwaam) to Hollywoodbets Durban July victor, Sparkling Water. The 2021/22 Equus Champion winner is lot 129.

Then another colt who jumps off the pages of the catalogue is lot 167, a half-brother (by Vercingetorix) to Rainbow Bridge, Golden Ducat and Hawwaam. The first-named won 11 races in an illustrious career.

The Flower Alley filly, Santa Therese, won one more race than Rainbow Bridge and her full-brother (lot 310) named Johnny Jump Up is the fourth last Wilgerbosdrift offering on Day Two and should prove popular.

Final thought on the Turffontein meeting: punters and pundits can only have stared in disbelief as Almond Sea (1-5), Pistol Pete (1-4) and Silver Sanctuary (63-100) all bit the dust.

Perhaps the best odds-on shot of the weekend was Max Verstappen – a 1-7 shot to win the Japanese Grand Prix. He didn’t disappoint his fans.

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