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The Stuart Pettigrew-trained Betula just gets there in time under Diego De Gouveia (Candiese Lenferna Photography).


The Hollywoodbets Durban July meeting started with a thrilling finish in the R400,000 BSA Sales Cup for fillies over 1300m.

The Duncan Howells-trained Oriental Bouquet appeared to be the winner everywhere except the line as the Stuart Pettigrew-trained Betula put her head down at just the right time.

A late bump caused Howells to lodge an objection but the stipendiary stewards adjudged it to have occurred after the line.
Both protagonists were by the exciting new season sire Danon Platina, who is based at Mauritzfontein Stud.
The Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein-bred Betula is out of an unraced Fastnet Rock mare who is a half-sister to Duke Of Marmalade filly Venus de Milo, who won a Group 3 in Ireland and was placed in four Group 1s in England and Ireland.
Betula went for a bargain R160,000.
The astute Pettigrew had bought her half-sister Tulip Tree (What A Winter) at the BSA Cape Yearling Sale the previous year, also for R160,000, and that three-year-old is already a four-time winner and is merit rated 101.
Oriental Bouquet, who was bred by Riethuiskraal Stud, was bought at the BSA National Yearling Sale for R120,000.  
Betula is a typically progressive daughter of Danon Platina and Pettigrew said, “I didn’t pick out Danon Platina specifically as a stallion, but I like the mare line on this filly. I have got a few Danon Platina’s though and they are turning out to be very nice horses. I think he is the future stallion of South Africa.”
He added, “I think you will only see the best of the Danon Platina’s when they turn three. The ones who are racing now as two-year-olds are doing well, but when they turn three they are going to be proper horses.”
Stuart was asked whether Betula would run again this season and he said, “I don’t think so, she is a bit on the weak side, immature, and she is going to be a nice three-year-old, so we will just chuck her out now and leave her alone until the Summer comes. She is going to go 1600m-1800m, that is going to be her proper distance.”
Betula was not well away from draw two on Saturday, but made up some ground along the rail before turning for home just backward of mid-pack.
She produced a strong run under Diego De Gouveia, who negotiated an intelligent path  through the traffic, and she was a deserved winner. 
She is owned by Gary Player, T Kung, B A Lane, Paul Marks and A D Marx.  
Danon Platina would be the leading freshman sire if sales race stakes counted, but they do not.
She has had 15 winners of 19 races, compared to the 14 winners of 16 races of the late Lancaster Bomber.
However, Lancaster Bomber’s stakes earnings of R1,974,550 put her R440,675 clear of  
Danon Platina.    
The Pettigrew yard has also done well with  Flower Alley’s, but he said he did not go to the sales with the intention of only buying classic pedigree horses.
He said, “I love the Flower Alley’s, they’ve done so well for me, they really have, especially the fillies, but when I buy a horse I just try to buy a good horse, whether it is a sprinter, a classic horse, staying horse, I just look at a horse and say I like this horse and whether it’s a sprinter or stayer doesn’t influence my decision to buy.”