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The two favourites for the Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein Standside on Saturday, Princess Calla (Flower Alley) and Zarina (Master Of My Fate) have both missed five days work at the Vaal training centre due to the rain.

Neither Ashley Fortune nor Candice Bass-Robinson are too perturbed though.

The Fortune yard gave Princess Calla a gallop last week on the grass and were very happy with her.

If there were any concerns about her racing at altitude, the classy filly has been sent to the right yard.

The Fortunes have inherited a lot of runners from Cape Town over the past two or three seasons and have had time to work out what works best for them with horses arriving from the Western Cape coast. 

Princess Calla arrived six weeks ago and according to them has had enough time to acclimatise. 

Andrew pointed out Majestic Mozart (Dynasty) had won his first start on the Highveld by over five lengths. 

As far as missing work goes it is also generally accepted by trainers that this does not have much impact on a fit horse but does have an adverse effect on horses who are behind in their preparations and playing catch up. 

Princess Calla would have arrived fit having won the Grade 3 Prix du Cap over 1400m by three lengths on February 26.

In any case, if the lack of work over the last week has had any effect on her the Fortunes believe her class will pull her through.

They concluded, “We hope to have our first Grade 1 winner.”

The couple are focusing on this race alone for the time being and will leave it to owner Mario Ferreira and his racing manager Des Gonsalves to decide what her next target will be. 

Candice Bass-Robinson’s pair Zarina and Chat Ching (Duke Of Marmalade) have also been at The Vaal for six weeks.

They were also both able to get in a grass gallop apiece last week. 

Furthermore, they both had a run in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1400m at Turffontein Standside on March 26 which will have given them an advantage of having seen the course.

They did not arrive off the back of a race in Cape Town, unlike Princess Calla. . 

Bass-Robinson therefore believed they had both needed that last run and would have come on from it.

Zarina proved herself suited to the Turffontein Standside track in that 1400m event and was a touch unlucky.

She was drawn wide and was carrying 62kg but made strong inroads late.

However, she had nowhere to go and was forced to just coast home for the last 50m.

Even then she finished just 1,25 length behind Sentbydestiny and will be 6kg better off with her on Saturday.

Chat Ching moved up well down the inside but hadn’t raced since the beginning of January and ran out of steam. Richard Fourie eased her once she was beaten.

She was beaten three lengths by Zarina and will be 4kg worse off in the weight for age event on Saturday.

However, she would have come on from the run and in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over 1600m she was beaten just 1,55 lengths by Zarina on wfa terms.

Zarina beat Princess Calla by a short-head in the latter race after producing a devastating finish from the back off a strong pace.

However, Princess Calla beat Zarina by 2,75 lengths when they last met over this trip in the Grade 1 wfa Schweppes Majorca Stakes.

Zarina, who will be ridden by Keagan de Melo, is drawn in pole and Princess Calla, who will be ridden by Aldo Domeyer, is drawn two, 

The Johannesburg horses will be led by Sprinkles (Elusive Fort), who finished runner up in both the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas and the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic. However, she has drawn widest of all in the 13-horse field.

Sparkling Water (Silvano) is a fascinating runner because although she would prefer further she is classy and progressive and should be finishing strongly.

Sentbydestiny (Master Of My Fate) won the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over this trip as a two-year-old but it was a below par renewal and she has 3,20 lengths to find on Zarina on Garden Province form.

Sean Tarry’s Grade 1 Allan Robertson winner Under Your Spell (Capetown Noir) is full of class and steps up to this trip for the first time. She can turn it on impressively when getting the necessary cover and being by miler Capetown Noir and a half-sister to Witchcraft (Kahal), who was a twice winner of the Grade 3 Gold Circle Oaks, she should enjoy the step up in trip. However, she does have a tricky draw of eight.

Tarry’s Marigold Hotel (Querari) also has a touch of class and has a fair draw of six. On Grade 3 Fillies Mile form she only has a short-head to find on Sprinkles.

Bold Fortune (Flower Alley) is an interesting runner too as a big progressive type who probably used her last run as a preparation.

Pretty Betty (Master Of My Fate) has become disappointing but as a front-runner might have benefited form her two runs on the Highveld.

She’s A Keeper (Gimmthegreenlight) has proved to be just below the best and has 4,35 lengths to find on Princess Calla on Majorca form and she also has a wide draw.

However, the Van Zyls know a thing or two about raiding the Highveld.

Mount Laurel (Ideal World) has just 1,15 lengths to find on Zarina on Garden Province form but disappointed in her first raid of the Highveld.

Rouge Allure (Kahal) is capable of a strong finish but has a tough task at the weights. 
 
Picture: Zarina (Wayne Marks).