St. John Gray is planning the next move for his classy filly Ronnie’s Candy, who deservedly earned Grade 1 status last Saturday when winning the HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes over 1600m, and the KZN Breeders Million Mile or the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over 1600m are the most obvious targets.
Gray said she had come of Saturday’s race well.
The four-year-old King Of Kings filly was dropped out to last from a wide draw on Saturday and displayed her devastating turn of foot in the straight under Piere Strydom to beat a good field which included Grade 1 winner Queen Supreme and well performed sorts like Vistula, Saragon, Running Brave, In the Dance and Magic School.
She is in line for the Equus Older Female Of The Year award now alongside the like of Queen Supreme, Celtic Sea and Clouds Unfold as she has also won the Grade 2 Ipi Tombe Stakes over 1600m this season.
Gray said that types like her who come from off the pace could often go further than their optimum distance, with a case in point being his own top class mare Dancewiththedevil, who won the Grade 1 Summer Cup over 2000m on top of her four Grade 1 mile victories.
Ronnie’s Candy looked to be going away at the line of Saturday.
Gray also pointed out that in her only attempt at 1800m in the Grade 3 Yellowwood Handicap she had been beaten 4,25 lengths into second by Queen Supreme but had been giving the latter 7,5kg.
Gray races his own homebreds almost exclusively.
Many are mystified by how well he does with such obscurely bred horses as Dancewiththedevil and Ronnie’s Candy, who are by the uncommercial stallions Modus Vivendi and King Of Kings respectively.
He pointed out that he is a firm believer in nicks and patterns and said he would often avoid a commercial stallion if there was no nick.
He admitted though that the nicks and patterns did not always work.
However, they did work in the case of Ronnie’s Candy, whose Jet Master dam Bennie Andthe Jets had provided a “beautiful” mating for King Of Kings.
Looking at her pedigree from an amateur perspective some of the famed nicks which exist on both the male and female sides of the pedigree are Nasrullah/Princequillo and also Sir Gaylord exists on both male and female sides. The latter is an example of a genetic affinity that exists when combining his dam Something Royal, who is also dam of Secretariat, with Royal Charger.
Bennie Andthe Jets is currently in foal to Potala Palace.
By David Thiselton