Trainer Stephen Moffatt has a high opinion of Rouge Allure which is why he was quite prepared to put her up against some of the best three-year-olds in the country in races such as the Grade 3 Three Troikas Stakes over 1450m on the Turffontein Inside track and the Listed Oaks Trial over 2000m on the Standside track.
She failed to deliver in both events but Moffatt is convinced that was not due to a lack of ability. “I really do think she’s decent,” he said yesterday. “I just think she was not strong enough to go around the bend at that stage of her career.”
Last time she eventually won a race over 1450m on the Inside track so it appears she finally has learned to deal with the turn. Tomorrow that will be tested once again when the daughter of Kahal lines up in a FM 73 Handicap over 1700m on the Vaal Inside track.
“I’m convinced she will get 1800m so the 1700m should be no problem,” said Moffatt. “I’ve put S’manga Khumalo up and she’s definitely a big runner.
“We haven’t seen the best of her yet. I think she’s going to win a small feature. She will be a lot better as a four-year-old when she strengthens up.”
Rouge Allure will carry top weight of 60kg but will not have to give tons of weight to her main rivals. The biggest threat should come from Kahlua Rose, who has the most consistent form of the nine runners. Erico Verdonese’s charge is a three-time winner from eight starts and in her last four races has a record of two wins and two places, all over 1600m. So the extra 100m is unlikely to make too much difference.
It is interesting that Khumalo, who rode her in her last two races, is now aboard Rouge Allure while apprentice Lyle Hewitson gets back on Kahlua Rose.
Emily Jay has won over 1800m at this course so the distance is not of any concern but she does have her issues going into the pens. She ran in the Oaks Trial last time but unfortunately the saddle slipped and that destroyed any winning chance she might have had. Trainer Brian Wiid has fitted blinkers for this run and Andrew Fortune takes the ride for the first time.