TRAINER Lucky Houdalakis had to change My Friend Lee’s work programme so she could be more competitive in the Gr3 Gardenia Handicap over 1160m on Summer Cup Day. She benefitted from being “sharpened” and won going away over a trip considered short of her best, going off at 28-1.
Another outsider Arissa finished second at 16-1, with Lady Starlett (36-1) ensuring a R5,967 Trifecta return.
Houdalakis said: “I was looking for a suitable race between 1200m and 1400m to get some black type for My Friend Lee but I couldn’t find one so we had to put her in the Gardenia and we hoped she’d run in the first three. I think the rain did us a favour. She has her black type now, it increases her value.”
Jockey Muzi Yeni commented: “ I had some other lightweight options but My Friend Lee has been good to me so I stuck with her. I thought she’d be good for a place but she showed her class. I hit the front too soon but she had the stamina and kept going.”
My Friend Lee is a four-year-old grey filly by Pathfork, bred by Highlands Stud. She is owned by Bryn Ressell in partnership with Keith Waterston, who was delighted to lift his first trophy after having more than 50 winners in his career as an owner.
My Friend Lee is six from 17 and has earned her connections just under R550,000 smackeroos.
Photo: JC Photos.