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Classic prospects strike early

Posted 9 April 2018 at 15:35

UMZIMKHULU STAKES (GRADE 3) - R250,000 - 1400m - Greyville

1st R156,250, 2nd R50,000, 3rd R25,000 - April 8


Despite returning from a rest and racing over a distance now patently too sharp, favourite Lady In Black’s class got her home in a thrilling finish to this Gr.3 event.

Under top weight, last season’s champion juvenile filly came into the lead approaching the final furlong but soon had to contend with a stubborn challenger in the shape of unfancied Twice As Smart (Twice Over). Dwarfed by the statuesque champion, Wendy Whitehead’s filly briefly poked her nose in front but Lady In Black gamely responded to Sean Veale’s urgings and rallied back to score by a head.

Winning trainer Dennis Drier remarked afterwards: “I was concerned about the trip, considering she already wants 1800m, and obviously, having to concede up to 6kg in weight, is never easy. She showed her class.”

This was the fourth win from seven starts for the Dynasty filly, who had capped an unbeaten juvenile season with a top level success in the Gr.1 Thekwini Stakes. She failed to add to that during the Cape Summer season, where she twice ran into the brilliant Snowdance (Captain Al). Only seventh in the Gr.2 Western Cape Fillies Championship, she could finish no closer than fourth in the Gr.1 Cape Fillies Guineas, but redeemed herself in her final Cape start when runner-up to subsequent Met queen Oh Susanna (Street Cry) in the Gr.1 Paddock Stakes.

This latest success pushed her Stakes earnings to within the million Rand mark and like Undercover Agent, she has bigger fish to fry, with the Gr.1 Woolavington 2000 very much on the radar.

Lady In Black was bred by Willem Engelbrecht Jnr and is the second foal of his homebred Mystery Dame, a five-time winner who twice reached the frame in the Gr.3 Final Fling Stakes. By Jet Master, she is an own sister to Stakes-placed Flaming Dame, while her Jallad half-sister Leading Dame bred Gr.1 Daily News 2000 third Lizarre and Gr.3-placed Lake Arthur to the seven-time champion sire. Lizarre went on to become Horse of the Year in Singapore, where he ran second in the Gr.1 Gold Cup.

Mystery Dame is now owned by Rathmor Stud, who will offer her Oratorio filly on the opening day of the National Yearling Sale. - AvdB
(Picture: Gold Circle)

BYERLEY TURK  (GRADE 3) - R250,000 - 1400m - Greyville

1st R156,250, 2nd R50,000, 3rd R25,000 - April 8


“A work in progress”, that’s how Brett Crawford’s assistant Paul Muscutt described Undercover Agent following the colt’s impressive maiden Stakes victory whilst making his Greyville debut.

Always within striking distance of the pace, Richard Fourie sent the imposing bay about his business up the inside rail at the top of the straight. When pacesetter Ryker (Miesque’s Approval) cried enough, the colt found himself on the lead, but was soon joined by Sniper Shot (Judpot). The pair engaged in a fierce duel to the line, but the Cape visitor kept finding more to assert his authority by two lengths. Stable companion White River (Trippi) was just over a length back in third.

This was the winner’s first outing since he hit a big payday in the CTS 1600 on January 27, which came on the back of a disappoint effort in the Gr.1 Cape Guineas when tenth behind Tap O’Noth (Captain Al), to whom he had finished a close second in the Gr.3 Cape Classic.

The colt is sure to build on this fine effort during the winter season, with likely targets being the Guineas and Daily News 2000.

Co-owner Braam van Huyssteen, flush from Legal Eagle’s Gr.1 success at Turffontein the day before, was on hand to accept the winning trophy. He races Undercover Agent in partnership with Greg Bortz, having paid R325,000 for his latest Stakes winner at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale.

The colt provided Klawervlei’s late powerhouse Captain Al with a third Stakes winner in 24 hours, following the Turffontein double of Celtic Sea (Gr.3 Pretty Polly Stakes) and Al Danza (Jacaranda Handicap).

One of two winners out of Winter Oaks victress Secret Risk (London News), Undercover Agent was bred by Moutonshoek, who will be delighted with this timely update to the pedigree of his yearling half-sister by Flower Alley, who is catalogued to sell at the National Sale in less than three weeks’ time.  - AvdB

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