Jack Milner
2 minute read
3 Mar 2017
10:32 am

Orchid Island to fl ower again

Jack Milner

Stablemate Ektifaa will have many supporters but is drawn even wider.

The debate of quality versus draws comes to the fore in the R500,000 Wilgerbosdri_ Gauteng Fillies Guineas over 1600m at Turff ontein tomorrow.

In this Grade 2 event, which is also the first leg of the R1-million Wilgerbosdri_ SA Triple Tiara, two runners stand out on merit rating – Safe Harbour and Ektifaa.

They are by far the best handicapped runners but both will either have to be divisions better than their opposition or will need an abundance of luck as Safe Harbour is likely to jump from No 14 draw and Ektifaa from barrier No 12 in this 16-strong line-up.

As there is just 200m from the jump until they hit the turn, it is not the place you want to be drawn.

According to trainer Sean Tarry Safe Harbour, the highest rated runner in the field, might still need this run but “it would be nice if her class could get her through”.

“I would have sidestepped this race if I could have found an easier route into the SA Fillies Classic. She’s drawn poorly as well. Weknow she’s prett y classy but she’s got a few things against her.” Ektifaa has won her last four races and according to assistant trainer Mathew de Kock she is fit and well.

They had the option of running her in the Guineas as well but as there is a question mark over whether she will stay 1600m, the stable felt she had a better chance against her own sex.

However, De Kock has an excellent back-up in Orchid Island.

She will jump from barrier No 9 which is also not ideal but De Kock believes she has a shot at the Triple Tiara as he believes she will stay all three distances.

“This 1600m is probably at the bottom end of her scale but it is a big field and there should be a good pace.”

The daughter of Silvano will have the services of jockey Anthony Delpech and she has shown her ability with a victory in the Listed Sea Cottage Stakes over 1800m at the track in which she beat Furiosa, a massive contender in the Guineas, by four lengths.

Maleficent has been disappointing but she has a chance to redeem her tarnished reputation as she is drawn No 4. Based on her one-length third behind Anna Pavlova, giving her 1kg, Last Chirp, with Andrew Fortunecup, could be a good outsider to include.