Igugu (Left) and Hollywoodboulevard (Right)
(Photos : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)
R500,000 GAUTENG FILLIES GUINEAS (Grade 2)
Turffontein, Turf, 1600m
26 February 2011
Matthew LipsThe eagerly anticipated rematch between Summerhill Ready To Run graduatesHollywoodboulevard and Igugu will come to pass on Saturday when the two renew their rivalry in the first leg of the South African Triple Tiara, the R500,000 Gauteng Fillies Guineas (Grade 2) over 1600m on the Turffontein standside course. The clash promises to be a real humdinger especially if the handicappers have done their sums correctly - they have both fillies rated 103, writes Matthew Lips for South Africa’s leading turf publication, the Sporting Post.
The two Australian-breds have crossed paths once before in the very valuable Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup over 1400m on this course last November, where Hollywoodboulevard famously caused a 25/1 upset and capsized the long odds-on favourite Igugu by one length. There was absolutely no semblance of a fluke about that performance by Hollywoodboulevard though, and the daughter of Street Cry has gone on to win another three races from as many appearances since.
Now unbeaten from four starts since being teamed up with jockey Willie Figueroa, Hollywoodboulevard was particularly impressive the only time she was seen over this course-and-distance. That was in a Gr3 in November, where Charles Laird’s filly came from last in a field of ten and drew right away to win by four lengths from Without Malice. Hollywoodboulevard has since won twice on the Turffontein inner course, a track which doesn’t really suit her style of racing, and she was badly hampered early before recovering to win her most recent outing in a Gr3 over 1450m. She will certainly be doing her best work late, and there is no obvious reason why she cannot have a lively chance of beating Igugu again.
That said, Igugu was running on very stoutly when chasing home Hollywoodboulevard in the Ready To Run Cup and there is every possibility that she can reverse the form over this additional 200m. Mike de Kock’s charge has not been out since she finished 1.25 lengths second behind Ebony Flyer in the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas twelve weeks ago, but one imagines that she would have been given a prep race if she’d been thought to need one. Her Cape Town effort was full of merit as she was stuck wide on the turn and she ran on strongly all the way to the line. Third placed Emerald Cove finished a long way behind Igugu, yet went on to win the Gr1 Paddock Stakes next time out. Igugu also promises to be right at home over this stiff mile and Igugu will have a legion of followers who believe she is about to earn her revenge on Hollywoodboulevard.
Last season’s Gr1 winner Happy Archer has been a little disappointing of late, but she was returning from a 10 week break when staying on to finish 4.5 lengths behind Hollywoodboulevard over 1450m on the Turffontein inner course earlier in February. That at least represented improvement on her 12 lengths defeat behind the same rival over 1600m in November and Happy Archer may have come on from her last run. It is still asking a lot of her to reverse form with Hollywoodboulevard, though, and in truth the form of the Gr1 race she won at Greyville last July has not turned to be at all strong. She could fill a place, but she has quite a bit to find to win and a merit rating which puts her three pounds below the “big two” in this field may even be still a shade flattering.
Without Malice is very consistent, but she faces Hollywoodboulevard on 3kgs worse terms for a recent half-length beating over 1450m and was thumped four lengths by the same filly over this distance when they met at level weights in November. She goes well handy and might try and get the jump on her better fancied rivals, but that will take some doing down the long Turffontein straight and one has to feel that third prize is the best that Without Malice can realistically hope for.
Without Malice’s stable companion Stormy Coast may have needed the run after a 14 week lay-off when she lacked extra late and was beaten five lengths behind Hollywoodboulevard over 1450m. Even so she does look to be out of her depth at level weights in this company and Without Malice looks the better of the pair again.
The big unknown quantity of the race is obviously Welswitschia, an imported daughter of Oasis Dream who streaked clear in eye-catching style to slam ordinary maidens on her debut over 1200m at the Vaal late last month. She recovered well after being slow away and the fact that Mike de Kock considers her good enough to try her hand at this level surely means something. Welwitschia could be even better over 1600m and it would come as no surprise at all if she proved to be truly competitive, and as northern hemisphere-breds go she was an early foal with a January birth date. She still meets her locally bred rivals on unfavourable WFA terms, but it could have been worse. It is a big ask, though, and it is perhaps prudent to stick with those who have proven themselves in a higher grade than maiden company.
Fair Rosalind seems best suited to sprinting and faded after racing handy when beaten almost 15 lengths behind Hollywoodboulevard over 1450m last time out. She posted her biggest success in a Gr3 over 1160m in December, and didn’t impress either when tried over 1400m in November. She looks an unlikely threat here.
The rest also have plenty to do. Running Rivulet is consistent and set the pace before she finished 4.25 lengths second behind Without Malice over 1800m in November. They meet on the identical weight terms and there seems no real way that the form can be turned around, especially as Running Rivulet is coming here off a three month lay-off. Princess Of Light had every chance but didn’t really quicken when 3.75 lengths fourth behind Hollywoodboulevard over 1450m and she now meets that rival on 5kgs worse terms. She will enjoy going back to 1600m, but should be very well held. Chances Are was beaten just more than five lengths behind Hollywoodboulevard last time and faces a forlorn task on 5.5kgs worse terms, especially as she is not sure to stay this longer distance which she tries for the first time.
ABOUT THE PACE
The pace may not be all that hot, although Running Rivulet and Princess Of Light have done well at times racing from the front and can hopefully ensure at least that it isn’t a crawl. The long run-in should give those racing from further back a fighting chance to show what they are made of, and it is only by a hair’s breadth that Hollywoodboulevard is taken to get the better of Igugu again. Happy Archer, Without Malice and the wholly unexposed Welwitschia make most appeal of the rest.
GAUTENG FILLIES GUINEAS (Grade 2)
Mike de Kock
HAPPY ARCHER (AUS)
Mike de Kock
PRINCESS OF LIGHT