Inara: defied a drift in the L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes
Report: South Africa, Saturday
Turffontein: L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+ fillies and mares
INARA (Mike Bass/Grant van Niekerk) proved much too strong for her eight opponents despite drifting to 11-10 (from 4-5) before the off.
Van Niekerk had the winner handily placed on the heels of the leaders and led over a furlong out as his mount stretched clear to beat 14-1 shot Sensible Lover by a comfortable length, even though she hung right a little in the closing stages. This was the four-year-old’s fourth Grade 1 win.
Trophy Wife, the 7-2 second favourite, threw away her chance when dawdling out of the stalls and losing the best part of five lengths. She finished fifth.
Van Niekerk said: “We went a canter until the straight when they turned it into a sprint but this is an amazing filly. She surprises me every time she runs and she won’t stop here.”
Leicester-born Bass has had a torrid time this season, losing part of his right leg after flu turned into pneumonia and nearly killed him. He will retire at the end of the season when he hands over the licence to his daughter Candice Robinson.
He said: “It’s very difficult to win in Johannesburg with horses trained in Cape Town and so we sent her to Durban a month ago as we thought we would then be halfway there. She is a pleasure to train – she does it all for you.”
Inara is in the valuable Premier’s Champions Challenge over 1m2f at Turffontein in a fortnight’s time but that would mean taking on the colts and geldings including Queen’s Plate winner Legal Eagle.
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