VARSFONTEIN bred All At Once (an R80 000 buy from the 2017 BSA National Two Year Old Sale) showed huge courage in fighting back to nab last season’s G1 Allan Robertson Championship winner Mighty High (a R120 000 buy from the 2017 National Yearling Sale) on the post in Saturday’s R150 000 Listed Swallow Stakes for trainer Lucky Houdalakis, jockey Craig Zackey and owner Heinrich Rix of Stone Hill Stud.
The pair, old rivals, fought out a stirring finish and there was plenty to like about the way All At Once came again late after being headed by the higher-rated filly.
Houdalakis told Turf Talk: “We’ve landed the Swallow Stakes but All At Once had the weights well in her favour receiving 6kg from Mighty High at the race conditions. We will have limited options now, her rating has been adjusted to MR100, she started on 74, then got a 7 pound penalty, then a 13 pound hike and now a further 5.
“We’ll have to go for Pinnacle Stakes, Progress Plates and weight-for-age sprints, but the problem is that Mighty High will go wherever we go and at the weights All At Once will battle to beat her again.
“I had a look at the way Sean Tarry placed Carry On Alice, who was a Gr1 winner at two and raced to fuve. She virtually had to race from feature to feature with long breaks in between, which is not ideal but one has no other options!”
Houdalakis said All At Once was a small, but gutsy filly with a laid-back temperament. He said: “The Captain Al’s can be a bit frisky, but she’s not, she’s relaxed. I phoned breeder Carl de Vos this morning to ask him why she only fetched R80,000 at the sale, he said because of her size because she was backward. We have her now but you don’t get fillies like this at prices like that all the time.”
Three-year-old All At Once has won three of only four starts and she has her black type – being by Captain Al, emerging as a leading broodmare sire, her paddock valuie is already well enhanced. She is out of the Caesour mare Alexia –a full-sister to G2 Golden Slipper winner Alexandra Rose (who won the G3 Monrovia Handicap in the USA) and Listed Syringa Handicap Alexa, and half-sister to Memorial Mile winner Pavlovich and Sea Cottage Stakes winner Alexandra Palace.
Another half-sister Albizia, dam of G1 Golden Horseshoe winner Forest Indigo, also got among the winners on Saturday when her daughter Tamarina won the fourth race for Varsfontein and trainer Alec Laird.