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By Mike Moon

Horse racing correspondent

Bless My Stars looks fated to leave on a high

Equus champion filly is heading for the racetracks of the US.

Bless My Stars, 2023 Equus Champion three-year-old filly, races in South Africa for the last time this weekend, before being shipped to the US to continue her racing career – and then to stand at stud.

She contests the Grade 3 Betway London News Stakes over 1800m at Turffontein on Saturday – Race 7 on the card – and will be a popular banker for exotic bet players.

She was quoted at 2-1 by the race sponsor on Friday.

When Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin bought the now four-year-old last month, he said: “Bless My Stars, being a Champion and a Grade 1 winner, offers excellent downside as a broodmare prospect, which figured significantly in our decision to buy her.

“We hope she can make her mark in middle-distance racing in North America. She trained on at 4 and we have high hopes for her.”

Irwin, an influential figure in US racing, is a long-time admirer of South African thoroughbred bloodstock. He bought another top-flight filly, Feather Boa, in the same package deal brokered by Robin Bruss.

Bless My Stars narrowly beat a generally luckless Feather Boa on two occasions last year – in the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Classic and in a Pinnacle Stakes race a couple of months later.

Team Valow bought Bless My Stars from Kenneth Pillay’s Kestorm Investments for an undisclosed fee.
The daughter of champion sire Gimmethegreenlight was bred by Varsfontein Stud and was a R250,000 purchase from the 2021 BSA National Yearling Sale.


Trained by former champion trainer Paul Peter at 2, she won convincingly on debut and underlined her class by finishing less than half a length third in the 2022 Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes.

Campaigned by Sean Tarry for the 2022/23 season, she put up a courageous fight to win the Fillies Classic and then earned place cheques in the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Bridget Oppenheimer Oaks, the Grade 2 WSB Gerald Rosenberg Stakes and the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July, before claiming her next victory in the Grade 2 Gold Bracelet.

As a four-year-old, she was third in both the Grade 2 1600m Charity Mile and the Grade 1 2000m Betway Summer Cup.

In 15 runs to date, she has only been out of the prize money on three occasions, while collecting five wins, a second and five thirds along the way – and prize money of nearly R2.4-million.

Bless My Stars will carry the Team Valor colours in her local swansong. She has a clear edge over most of her rivals on collateral form, is weighted to win, and starts from a near-perfect draw of 5.

Nonetheless, the opposition is not exactly rats and mice, with the likes of Crimson King, Safe Passage, Litigation, Meridius, Electric Gold and lightly weighted Emirate Gina all having points in their favour.

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