Bright future for Lady In Black
DENNIS Drier looks to have a bright classic season ahead of him as his Grade 1 Thekwini winner Lady In Black looks as special as his Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion winner Sand And Sea. Just about everything which could have gone wrong in the running for Lady In Black went wrong for her on Sunday.
She was bowled a couple of times when attempting to slot in from a wide draw and was ultimately trapped wide throughout.
She then took two nasty bumps at the top of the straight and was later found to have been cut into too.
Yet she still managed to stay on best of all to win by half-a-length and remain unbeaten in three starts.
Drier was full of praise for the filly and also for jockey Sean Veale.
He said, “I obviously didn’t think it was going well for her.
“I think what won her the race was Sean didn’t panic and chase, but just sat and waited.
“Then when S’Manga (Khumalo) pulled his horse out at the top of the straight and gave her two nasty bumps Sean once again didn’t panic and just held her together until she could get back into her rhythm.
“She also showed tremendous guts and courage and, of course, ability.”
She is by Dynasty out of the Jet Master mare Mystery Dame, who won five times from 1 400-1 800m and was twice Grade 3 placed.
Mystery Dame is a half-sister to the Jallad colt Talahatchie, who won the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, which is the male equivalent of the Thekwini, .
Bloodstock agent John Freeman, representing owners Jack Mitchell and his daughter Nancy, had to go to R1,1million to secure her at the Bloodstock South Africa National Yearling Sales.
Drier has trained a few for the Mitchells before and counted himself most fortunate to be earmarked for this one.
Drier did not know the reason he was chosen, but perhaps it was due to him having been the trainer of the most successful Dynasty female to date, Beach Beauty, who won five Grade 1s.
Lady In Black was bred by Willie Englebrecht, who has a glittering record as a breeder.
After being sold she was sent to Drakenstein Stud to be spelled.
Drier did not think she would be an “early” filly, so he turned down the offer to have her sent to him during the Cape Summer Season, where he always has a string at Phillippi training centre.
Instead, Lady In Black was transported to Summerveld to join him upon his return from the Cape.
She showed she was special from day one.
He said, “She is one of those fillies every trainer would love to have and thank goodness my name came out of the hat.”
However, he said she is completely different to Beach Beauty in everything but temperament.
He said, “Beach Beauty was a small and robust little horse, but Lady In Black has a lot of scope. “She has a bright future.” He added, “But in temperament she is exactly the same as Beach Beauty. Nothing worries her.
“She is unbelievable and very easy to work with.”
Drier said she had come out of her race very well, despite the rough race she had to endure.
Lady In Black will now be earmarked for the big fillies races in the Cape Summer, with the Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas being her chief target.
The big Twice Over colt Sand And Sea, who is unbeaten in two starts, will also be heading for Cape Town.
Drier is confident he will get a mile.
Drier and Veale also had two winners together on the first day of the Gold Cup Festival of Racing on Saturday.
In the first, a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1600m on the turf, they won with Colour Your Dreams, who was bred by James Armitage’s Sandown Stud. Armitage is the nephew of Beach Beauty’s late breeder Trevor.
Drier was thrilled to witness the excitement the Philanthropist filly’s victory brought to the ten enthusiastic ladies who own her and also to the other part-owner Bobby Norton, whom Drier described as “the thorn among the roses.”
In the third race, a MR 70 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 000m on the poly, Drier and Veale won with Western Winter filly Chamber Maid.
She was well supported in the betting and is owned by former Gold Circle chairman John Bescoby in partnership with former Gold Circle director Bruce Armstrong as well as by Sally Bruss, who was the stud manager of the filly’s breeders, Lammerskraal Stud.
Bescoby was of course a part-owner of Beach Beauty.