SCHIPPERS was named after Dutch Olympic sprinter Dafne Schippers and she’s good-looking and very fast, like her namesake. Schippers (9-2), the four-year-old filly by VAR, looked in a class all of her own winning the Gr3 Magnolia Handicap over 1160m from Ouro and Kissable on Cup Day at Turffontein.

“Schippers is a quality filly who is improving all the while. Her temperament has also improved,” offered trainer Geoff Woodruff before the race. Gavin Lerena and I looked at the field, she has a galloping weight and she definitely has a shout back in fillies class.”

The pair was on the mark with these pre-race assessments and Lerena said afterwards: “Schippers is a super filly with a good mind on her and I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of her just yet as her coat hasn’t turned. She’s going to come well.”

Lerena discussed her preparation and said: “Mr Woodruff did a fine job. There was too much time in between her races and he decided to put her against the colts in her final prep for this race. She carried a big weight and was beaten into fourth, but it was the right decision to bring her to fitness for this race.”

Lerena also thanked owner/breeder Geoff Van Lear, who was on course to lead in his winner and beamed with pride. Van Lear produced Schippers from his Count Du Bois mare Fair Rosalind. She’s now five from 11 with R537,000 in the bank and, as Lerena suggested, her best is yet to come.