Finding a winner may prove tough as the three-year-old fillies’ division has not, as yet, revealed a clear hierarchy of achievement.
Along Came Polly, Happy Valentine and For The Lads dominated in KwaZulu-Natal during the winter. Winter Star, Close The Gap and Athina have looked strongest in Gauteng, while the Justin Snaith-trained duo of In The Fast Lane and Highly Decorated fought out the finish to the Choice Carriers over 1400m at Kenilworth.
That is already quite a long list – the running of the Fillies Guineas may help clarify the situation.
Trainer Gavin van Zyl has recently switched from a training base at Noordhoek to Phillippi, where he feels he can measure and control things better, so predicts improvement from both Along Came Polly and Mohave Princess.
“Along Came Polly needed the run in the Choice Carriers but still finished the race smartly from a bad draw. She currently has a good demeanour and we expect her to be competitive. Mohave Princess also needed that first Cape run and ran on nicely from a wide draw. The better draw and extra distance is in her favour now.”
The powerful Mike Bass yard has four participants. His daughter and assistant Candace confirmed that nothing stands out in this race.
“We will have as good a chance as any,” was her realistic appraisal of the opposition. She reported that all the stable runners are doing well.
She said: “Lanner Falcon got caught out wide in the Choice Carrriers but still ran a good race and has a swift turn of foot.
“Pure Power must also be a big runner. We will try tuck her in and give her more of a chance than in that last race where she had to overcome a wide draw and only got run out of it late after racing handily.”
When quizzed about Alascan Maiden, the response was: “This 1600m may still be a touch short – her preferred distance is a bit further, so the Paddock Stakes may be optimal, whilst Princess Of The Sky steps up in class and we will just have to see if she is up to it.”
Sea Cat’s trainer, Paul Reeves, is another predicting a tight finish, reckoning that “two lengths could cover the whole field. Sea Cat is doing well and though we never seem to get a decent draw which makes it harder still. We hope she can run on as fast as she did last time and finish right on top of them.”