Considering she has had her problems, trainer Dave Nieuwenhuizen has done remarkably well with Mill Queen.
She has been running against the best in the land and looked headed for a bright future when she won the Grade 3 Starling Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein as a three-year-old.
Unfortunately, she did have soundness issues and taking all of that into account she has still managed to notch up four wins and eight places from 21 starts.
Interestingly, she now has a new career as a sprinter and has run two excellent races over 1160m (in the Grade 3 Sycamore Sprint when fourth to Big Burn) and then over 1200m on the Turffontein Inside track when a 1.50-length second to Thumbs Up.
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Tomorrow the five-year-old mare lines up in Race 5, a Class B MR 96 Handicap over the same course and distance and from draw No 1 and Marco van Rensburg back in the irons, she could get back on a winning track.
Having last won more than a year ago, Mill Queen’s merit rating has dropped to 96 from a peak of 112. At this rating, and judged on current form, a return to winning ways won’t come as a surprise.
She will be taking on the colts but her main threat could come from three-year-old filly Alula’s Star.
This filly is one of the stars in Stuart Pettigrew’s stable. Her only unplaced effort in her career spanning ten runs so far was in a Grade 3 sprint over 1100m last time out when finishing fifth.
On that occasion she was uncharacteristically slow out the gate and settled right at the back of the pack from where she never found a running line, forced to shift out twice.
As the highest rated runner in the field, she will undoubtedly go all out to prove that that effort is no more than just a blip on her performance chart, rather than the start of a new trend.
It is interesting that regular rider apprentice Philasande Mxoli has been replaced by Kabelo Matsunyane, who gets his first chance aboard this Red Ray filly.
Of the colts and geldings consistent Spanish Boy, trained by Lucky Houdalakis, should follow them home. This Silvano gelding has an excellent record over the course and distance. However, he does tend to find one better more often than not, proven by his seven runner-up finishes compared to his three wins from 26 outings.
Others, like Captain Morisco and Bowie, could also feature.