The three-year-old fillies crop stamped itself as potentially special over the weekend with a number of outstanding performances.
In Johannesburg the crop’s flag was flown by Anything Goes, War Of Athena and Ecstatic Green and in Cape Town by Captain’s Ransom.
Anything Goes, who was named Equus Champion Two-year-old filly of last season, put up the performance of the weekend as she carried a 2kg Grade 1 penalty and yet that did not stop her beating two useful four-year-olds, Grade 1-placed Magic School and Grade 3 winner Mount Laurel, by three lengths and 5,25 lengths respectively on terms 2kg worse than weight for age.
The Stuart Pettigrew-trained Varsfontein Stud-bred Var filly is now unbeaten in five starts.
She had the advantage of a pole position draw and regular pilot Diego De Gouveia had her in midfield on the rail.
De Gouveia was patient in the straight and under a hands and heels ride she surged towards the leader, the Grade 3 winner Mill Queen. After being given a couple of backhanders at the 300m mark she showed how good her turn of foot is and bounded clear full of running.
De Gouveia said every jockey hoped for a horse who could take them to the top and he said he had found such a horse. The talented youngster has ridden her faultlessly in all of her runs to date.
Pettigrew called her a “top, top filly” and said he looked forward to renewing rivalry with the Paul Matchett-trained War Of Athena in the R900,000 Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup over the 1400m Turffontein Standside course at the end of the month.
Anything Goes beat War Of Athena by a diminishing 0,30 lengths in the Grade 1 Thekwini over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Greyville at the end of August.
Anything Goes was a R270,000 buy from the BSA National Yearling Sale. She later went through the ring at the BSA Ready To Run Sale and failed to reach her reserve of R600,000.
She is out of the Parade Leader mare Dance Doman, an unplaced half-sister to the three-time Grade 1-winning champion miler Capetown Noir.
War Of Athena earlier pipped Ecstatic Green at level weights in an Allowance Plate over 1200m. This was a remarkable feat considering she will probably go 2000m. Both fillies carried 54kg and were 3,5kg better off than weight for age with the Grade 3-winning and Grade 1-placed filly True To Life, who was beaten half-a-length.
The three-year-old pair reached the elbow in fifth and sixth place respectively in the seven horse field and looked to have their work cut out at the 200m mark as they still had a couple of lengths to make up on True To Life. However, they kept plugging away and at the 50m mark it was clearly one of the youngsters who was going to win. War Of Athena showed tremendous resolve to get her nose ahead.
This Summerhill Stud-bred Act Of War filly cost just R30,000 at the BSA Ready To Run sale.
The disappointing stallion Requiem is not doing badly as a broodmare sire and War Of Athena’s dam Qaphela is an example. This mare is a half-sister to the stakes winners Ithala and Mzwilili and has produced four winners from six runners to date. Mzwilili was trained by Matchett so it is not surprising War Of Athena found her way to his yard.
Meanwhile down in Cape Town the Justin Snaith-trained three-year-old Captain A filly Captain’s Ransom produced a devastating finish from off the pace to down the dual Grade 1-winning five-year-old mare Clouds Unfold in the Grade 3 Diana Stakes over 1400m at Durbanville. She carried just 50kg under apprentice Joshwin Solomons meaning she was 3kg better off than weight for age with Clouds Unfold whom she beat by 0,30 lengths.
Captain’s Ransom is out of an unraced Red Ransom mare who is a half-sister to a Group 3 winner over five furlongs in France. She cost R225,000 at the National Yearling Sales and has now won three of her four starts.