Roy’s Riviera up for the challenge

PUBLISHED: 27 November 2019

Roy's Riviera (Candiese Lenferna)

The Grade 2 WSB Ipi Tombe Challenge will be possibly the classiest race at Turffontein Standside on Saturday and it looks ultra competitive.

The Frank Robinson-trained Roy’s Riviera looks to be the value in the race. She is full of class and her fine turn of foot coupled with her sustained finish makes her ideally suited to the Turffontein Standside course. However, she unfortunately has a wide draw to overcome so Bernard Fayd’Herbe, who won a feature on her over 2000m in May, will have to be at his best to find some cover for her. If he manages to do that she has a chance as she is versatile and will be effective over this tough mile. Proof of how good her odds are is that she was just 0,40 lengths Vistula in the weight for age Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes over this trip at Greyville and now receives 1kg from the latter. Vistula has been priced up here as 22/10 favourite and Roy’s Riviera is way out at 22/1.

Roy's Riviera (Candiese Lenferna)
Roy’s Riviera (Candiese Lenferna)

Vistula has come into her own this season as one would expect from a daughter of Ideal World. She has plenty of class and has a fair draw of seven. She might be at her best over 1400m, but she has won twice over this trip. In the Garden Province she had to do the donkey work out in front and ran out of steam in the latter stages. She will likely attempt to find a handy position this time and Warren Kennedy has become an expert in placing horses in the running.

In The Dance has a turn of foot to match her half-brother Capetown Noir’s and she wasn’t disgraced in her first attempt at this trip in the Charity Mile when a 7,25 length sixth to Barahin in heavy going. The weather forecast suggests the ground will be a lot faster on Saturday and she should be a big player.

Mill Queen is one of three classy three-year-olds in the race. She won the Grade 3 Starling Stakes over 1400m last time despite having had an interrupted preparation. She is described by her yard as immature, so will be improving all the time both physically and mentally and will strip fitter than last time. She has a plum draw and proved at the end of last season when a narrow second to the Equus two-year-old champion filly Gabor in the Grade 1 Thekwini that she enjoys this trip.

Wisteria Walk is a long-striding daughter of boom sire Vercingetorix who went down by just 0,30 lengths to Mill Queen in the Starling despite having to round horses from draw 14 of 14 in order to get to the lead. She should enjoy this step up in trip and with an easier passage than last time will be a big runner.

Snow Palace was well beaten by Mill Queen in the Starling but proved she is better than that with a good win over this trip last time. She led on that occasion and from a low draw here could attempt to do the same.  

Ronnie’s Candy has always possessed plenty of class and her three runs since an epistaxis suspension last March have been good enough to suggest she can produce her best here. She has an exceptional turn of foot but can race a bit strongly if not finding cover, so Luke Ferraris will have his work cut out from draw nine. 

Running Brave often slips under the radar despite her feature race consistency. She was thought by most to be best from 1400m to 1600m before winning the Grade 2 Gold Bracelet over 2000m under a fine front-running ride by Muzi Yeni on Gold Cup day. She could use the same tactics on this galloping course but on the downside she has not raced since the Gold Bracelet and she has a wide draw. 

Schippers is the highest rated horse in the race but has gained that rating from sprints and looks well held by Vistula on the grounds of her last two starts over 1400m and 1450m respectively.

Perfect Tigress is 1kg better off with Vistula for a 1,50 length beating over 1450m and has won up to 1800m so is an interesting contender here. There is a reversal in draw fortunes with Vistula that is not in her favour but she does have a good turn of foot and a sustained finish. She was well beaten by Roy’s Riviera in heavy going last time over 1800m but she was perhaps too handy and with the fine judge of pace Callan Murray now aboard she has a shout.

Chitengo is a progressive sort who should come into her own this season and she comes off a good second to the champion filly Celtic Sea in a 1400m event. She has won over course and distance and has a plum draw with Gavin Lerena aboard, so is yet another one who can’t be ignored. 

Pretty Border has run some gallant races against the best and beat Ronnie’s Candy over this trip at level weights when they last met. However, the latter was returning from her epistaxis suspension then and might have needed it.

By David Thiselton