Via Africa justifies trainer's confidence
Report: South Africa, Saturday
Scottsville: South African Fillies Sprint (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 3yo+, f/m
VIA AFRICA (Duncan Howells/Alec Forbes) readily justified her trainer's confidence by running out an impressive winner, despite drifting from odds-on to 27-20.
Soon leading, she stretched clear in the final furlong to beat Mike de Kock's KRA Fillies Guineas winner Festival Of Fire by a comfortable two and a half lengths under hands and heels riding.
Four-time Grade 1 winner Princess Victoria showed signs of returning to her best to take third, a length further back and a neck in front of All Is Secret.
Howells said: "I was exceptionally confident. People don't realise just how good she is but in fact she is far superior to the other fillies in this country over sprint distances. She wasn't a big filly as a young horse but has grown like you can't believe."
Also on Saturday
Scottsville: Allan Robertson Championship (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 2yof
Happy Valentine (Vaughan Marshall/Sean Veale) made virtually all to give Veale a first success at Grade 1 level.
The 11-5 favourite had it won a furlong out and went for the line with her rider looking left and right for non-existent dangers.
Along Came Polly (36-1) was beaten three and a quarter lengths and there was almost as far back to third-placed Masked Lady.
Veale said: "I hadn't ridden her in a race before but I thought she would win when I worked her on Thursday. In the parade ring Mr Marshall asked me if I was still confident. I assured him that she wouldn't get beaten."
Marshall, who also won last year's race with All Is Secret, added: "She is not the biggest in town but her heart is in the right place and she has lots of ability."
Scottsville: Tsogo Sun Medallion (Grade 1) 5f, turf, 2yo
Captain Of All (Dennis Drier/Sean Cormack) bounced out of the stalls and made all to hold off the sustained challenge of 19-20 favourite Willow Magic by a length, with a further five lengths back to third-placed Captain's Reserve who was weak in the market, drifting from 9-2 to 10-1.
The 9-1 winner gave Drier his third win in this race in four years. He was successful with Link Man in 2010 and with Potent Power last year.
Scottsville: Golden Horse Sprint (Grade 1 h'cap) 6f, turf, 3yo+
Contador (Charles Laird/Piere Strydom) became the seventh three-year-old to win in the last nine years when switched left over a furlong out to beat Wild Type by a length.
Strydom said: "I had to diet to do 53.5k (8st 6lb) but it was worth it. I jumped out well and sat behind the quick horses on the inside where the going tends to be better."
Laird, also successful with Delago Deluxe 12 months ago, said: "Last time he never tried a yard so we gelded him immediately and it has worked out."