Skip to main content
Royal Victory romps to victory in the Tony Ruffell (JC Photos).  
The Nathan Kotzen-trained Royal Victory, wearing first-time blinkers, toyed with his rivals in the Grade 3 Tony Ruffell Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein Standside on Monday and inadvertently gave Charles Dickens a boost ahead of his next big test in Saturday’s Grade 1 wfa L’Ormarins King’s Plate.
The 111 merit-rated Pathfork gelding was held up in midfield behind a slow pace in the small five horse field and cruised to the front still on a tight hold under S’Manga Khumalo.
He never came off the bit but stretched further and further clear to win by 3,75 lengths.
It was not a vintage field and 93-rated Aravidicio finished second.
However, it was the manner of the victory which made it impressive.
Royal Victory was bridesmaid to Cousin Casey as a juvenile, finishing a 0,90 length second to him in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m and a 2,10 length second to him in the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes over 1600m. 
He followed that up by finishing a 1,75 length third to Anfields Rocket and Shoemaker in the Grade 3 Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m, and a 2,50 lengths fourth to Union Square and Shoemaker in the Grade 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans.
All of those horses mentioned who have beaten him were thrashed by Charles Dickens in  the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas.
The three-year-old crop has been spoken about as being out of the ordinary, something which often happens in  the first half of the season, but this time they are living up to it.
Royal Victory’s time was slightly slower than the winner of the subsequent Grade 3 Three Troika Stakes, the Candice Dawson-trained Miss Cool (What A Winter). 
It was a good training feat by Dawson, because the former Paul Peter-trained SA Nursery winner is on the small side and was the only one in the field carrying a 2kg Grade 2 penalty. Given a fine ride by Muzi Yeni She produced the strong finish she was known for when trained by Peter and beat the promising Lucky Houdalakis-trained Kinky Boots (Master Of My Fate) by a length.
Another former Paul Peter inmate, the Sean Tarry-trained Bless My Stars, who was beaten just 0,35 lengths into third in the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes, finished a head behind Kinky Boots in third place.
Miss Cool has put her hand up for the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas to be run on February 4.
Later, the progressive Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained five-year-old gelding Puerto Manzano put his hand up as a Hollywoodbets Durban July candidate, or perhaps even a WSB Met contestant, when following his WSB Summer Cup win by carrying topweight to victory in the Grade 3 London News Stakes over 1800m.
The rangy Argentinian-bred took a while to build up as usual in the straight, which is obviously going to be a concern in the July, but once into top gear his long-stride carried him to a cosy 0,40 length victory over the useful Electric Gold, to whom he gave 9kg.