This is the time of year when racegoers assess the runners who have a Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara chance and there is little doubt Smiling Blue Eyes has all the right credentials to follow in the footsteps of Igugu and Cherry On The Top in claiming the R1-million bonus.
The grey filly could not have been more impressive when winning the Gauteng Fillies Gineas by 2.60 lengths, overcoming a No 16 draw. In the R1-million SA Fillies Classic over 1800m tomorrow, Smiling Blue Eyes is nicely positioned at gate No 6, and trainer Sean Tarry is confident of another excellent performance from the daughter of Dynasty.
“Her Guineas win was very good. She came into that race fresh following a rest so she should have come on since then. Improvement is expected.”
He believes she is looking for this sort of ground and that she should even have no problem with the SA Oaks distance of 2450m. She is a half-sister to Russian Sage, now a sire, and a full-sister to Sage Throne, who ran in a number of stayers’ races including the Gold Cup.
Smiling Blue Eyes had the Guineas won a long way from home and winning margin could have been extended. With a better draw, the extra 200m and expected improvement, she will be hard to stop in this Grade 1 race.
The filly she beat in the Guineas was Al Hawraa but Mathew de Kock, assistant to his father, Mike, said prior to that race he was expecting a big run from the Australian-bred. She was staying on well at the end but there will have to be a lot of improvement for her to beat Smiling Blue Eyes.
“Al Hawraa was a bit in-and-out earlier in her career but she’s doing well now she’s older and stronger. She’s showing us more at home, giving us confidence,” said Mathew.
“It’s all positive for her. She’s at a peak and has a good draw. I expect her to be right there at the finish.”
Punters often have short memories but just a few months ago everybody was rating Safe Harbour as one of the best three-year-old fillies in the country. She was narrowly beaten by Just Sensual in the Grade 1 Cape Fillies at Kenilworth and was touched off by Bela-Bea in the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes.
Tarry warned prior to her Guineas run that the daughter of Elusive Fort would need the run and she ran accordingly, never getting into the race from a wide draw.
“The two fillies have worked together before the guineas Smiling Blue Eyes would beat her easily. Now there is not a lot in it,” said Tarry.