The David Nieuwenhuizen-trained Mill Queen was victorious in the Grade 3 HSH Princess Charlene Starling Stakes over 1400m despite not enjoying a smooth preparation.
This Digteby Stud-bred Querari filly was bought for R140,000 at the National Yearling Sale session 2 and has already earned R423,375 in gross stakes for her owners S Poriazi, WG de Koker and W Volschenk.
Nieuwenhuizen said, “She still has to mature mentally and physically, she is a late maturer who is still furnishing, so hopefully she will get a lot better. She is doing extremely well despite being backwards and that is just down to her ability, so we have to look after her. She is a filly who gives her all, so we also have to be careful with her in work.”
Nieuwenhuizen lamented the lack of a preparation race for her going into the Starling Stakes, which he said was due to the benchmark for any suitable handicap races not being high enough to include his 110 merit rated horse and there were also no suitable plate races.
He did not want to put her up against older horses at this stage.
He said the lack of a preparation race might have worked in her favour to some degree due to the conditions of the Starling Stakes, which penalises horses for having more than two wins. He questioned the logic of this condition, i.e. why should good horses be penalised for feature preparation events, when there is already a condition which penalises Graded wins.
Furthermore, the Querari filly had a setback in training, tweaking her back, and they were forced to only walk her for a few days.
He added, “Thank goodness Gavin (Lerena) has a good feel for a horse. He rode her with a bit in reserve and it looked like she did need it.”
She won by 0,30 lengths from the persistent Wisteria Walk.
Nieuwenhuizen said another disadvantage she had endured was the difficulty of getting one jockey to stay aboard her.
He feared losing Lerena for her next intended target, the Grade 3 Fillies Mile, due to the latter’s retainer with Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud.
Lerena had ridden her before Saturday, which was an advantage.
Mill Queen ended her campaign as a two-year-old with a 0,80 length second in the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes. However, Nieuwenhuizen pointed out she had come from a wide draw that day and did not know the track, which was unlike the winner Gabor on both counts.
He would have preferred her next race, which will be her second after a layoff, to be on Gauteng Summer Cup day, November 30, but they had moved the Fillies Mile forward to the 23rd.
However, he said she had come out of Saturday’s race well.
He added he always went in to races positively, so would be able to adjust her work accordingly.
He concluded, “It’s all about the stable working together and management.”
By David Thiselton