HSH PRINCESS Charlene of Monaco’s presence at Turffontein on Saturday provided an air of royal grace and one hopes that she truly enjoyed it and will be back next year. The girl from Benoni has made us proud, like the actress whose name sounds similar and a few other legends who grew up near the lakes in the Jewel Of The East Rand.

The Princess hasn’t taken on any kind of accent, and she handled everything with a refined elegance, due to her height even having to bend a knee herself to hand out hugs and award trophies to South Africa’s racing royalty including Sir Stoute Michael and owner Jessica Slack after Nother Russia (Craig Zackey) won the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes over 1600m.

Nother Russia (Craig Zackey), improving leaps with every run.
Nother Russia (Craig Zackey), improving leaps with every run.

There is a humorous reference in a caption under a photo published in Horse Chestnut: The Story of A Legend, in which former Miss South Africa Sonia Raciti, another ravishing beauty of her day, hands Mike de Kock the SA Derby Trophy and he stands there with lots of hair and a big smile.

“Beauty and the Beast” sprung to mind for our headline photo today, but it really is so clichéd and, after all, this old Beast is still the undisputed master who with Nother Russia put his 112th Gr1 winner on the board.

There’s a story on all the mothers involved here, more of that on www.mikedekockracing.com, and Mother Mary (Slack) will be very proud today of what her (late) mare Mother Russia has achieved.

So Mother Russia’s daughter Nother Russia may well be seen taking on Legal Eagle in the Gr1 Champions Challenge at Turffontein, a fortnight away. It’s a big stake to race for and the way Nother Russia has improved with every run will give her a money chance there, though De Kock and Jessica Slack will have to discuss it considering how she comes out of the Empress Club this morning.

They may decide on picking a race or two during the KZN season en route to the 2017 Durban July, for which Nother Russia’s is among the first entries. She may already represent ante-post value in the light of De Kock’s assessment that, “she will have no problem with the (tough) Turffontein 2000.”

Level 42 sang, “There is Something About You… Baaaa….by” – and this goes for Nother Russia, who is starting to show that plenty of her famous dam’s genes have been passed to her. On her relentless rate of improvement she may, in a month or two, be able to hold a candle to the best males around.

Thanks to JC Photos for supplying pics.

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