Summer Pudding has come out of her win in the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas very well and the Wilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara dream is still alive.
Trainer Paul Peter also has three horses aimed at the second leg of the SA Triple Crown, Astrix, Western Fort and Battle Of Alesia.
Peter believed before last Wednesday evening’s meeting the Fillies Guineas would be the hardest leg of the SA Triple Tiara for Summer Pudding to win as the mile is on the sharp end of her stamina range.
She displayed both her courage and stamina reserves in testing conditions when fighting back after the strong-finishing Rio’s Winter had ranged up to her with 100m to go.
The Silvano filly is out of Cherry On The Cake, who is a half-sister to SA Triple Tiara heroine Cherry On The Top.
Peter said yesterday, “All is on song for the SA Fillies Classic (a R1 million Grade 1 event run on March 7, also sponsored by Wilgerbosdrift).”
Astrix only just failed to hold on for third in the Grade 2 Gauteng Guineas. He was beaten a short-head by Green Laser and was 3,80 lengths behind the winner Ikigai.
Peter said he had needed it and jockey Callan Murray was adamant he would stay the 1800m trip of the SA Classic.
Peter said the tactic to take Astrix handy to try and overcome his wide draw had also probably been a mistake and is now of the opinion he is a horse who needs to “take a sit”. This strategy will likely be used in the SA Classic.
Western Fort, a colt by Elusive Fort, was unplaced on his debut over 1600m last October but followed up with two impressive victories over 1900m and 2000m respectively. He started odds-on for his last start, a Graduation Plate over 2000m, but was beaten narrowly into second by the filly Diorama, to whom he gave 7kg.
However, Peter believed he had a valid excuse and said, “A line can be drawn through that run. He got a bad bump and then had no option but to go to the front. He is not a horse who wants to lead.”
Battle Of Alesia finished a 4,75 length fourth in the TAB/Betting World Dingaans.
He subsequently disappointed when a 1,75 length fourth in a strong Graduation Plate.
However, Peter said, “Warren said he wasn’t trying in that last race. He needed gelding and is better than that run. He has come on a lot since gelding.”
Battle Of Alesia is out of a Fort Wood maiden who placed over 2200m, so he should love the 1800m trip.
Both Astrix and Battle Of Alesia are by the new stallion sensation Vercingetorix, who is a son of the champion sire Silvano.
Peter said, “I don’t have enough Vercingetorix’s, I only have three!”
Peter was hoping he had a shout of winning the SA Classic.
He pointed out there might be a stamina doubt with Gauteng Guineas winner Ikigai and said that although Shango won the Dingaans in commanding style he was by Captain Of All, which also created a bit of doubt.
In other Peter yard news he said the classy sprinter Fly Away had hated the soft ground in the Grade 3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap, where she finished unplaced, and they hoped the going would be on top for her next engagement.
Peter has a four runners at the Vaal today and made Benji, who runs in the seventh, a Progress Plate over 1100m, a “massive runner”.
He said, “It didn’t pan out well for him last time but he still won and he will be better down the straight.”
By David Thiselton