Grade 1 winner Under Your Spell was beaten just 0,75 lengths by the star filly Princess Calla in last year’s Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes over 1600m and should be a lively candidate again this year after showing herself to be in fine fettle at Turffontein Standside yesterday (Monday).
The Sean Tarry-trained four-year-old Capetown Noir filly was up against the ever-improving Mike de Kock-trained four-year-old What A Winter filly Humdinger and the pair treated spectators to a thrilling finish.
Humdinger had the run of the race as Keagan de Melo was able to get her into her favourite front-running role from draw three without using up much energy, while Under Your Spell, from draw five, was forced to sit on her flank without cover.
Humdinger dictated and was kept together for sometime in the long straight still travelling comfortably, but when they drove for the line it was Under Your Spell who found the necessary extra to get up by a head, despite that earlier lack of cover and having to give Humdinger 4kg.
The Grade 3 Acacia Stakes over 1600m on February 26, a merit rated band race in which 114 merit-rated Under Your Spell would have to carry 60kg and 103 merit rated Humdinger would have to carry 56, is one option for both fillies on their road to the Empress Club Club Stakes on April 15.
They faced each other on those same weights today. Under Your Spell is unlikely to cop a raise for today’s win as she was well in at the weights.
Another option could be the Grade 2 Hawaii Stakes against the boys on March 4, a weight for age plus penalties event.
Both horses would have to carry a 1kg Grade 2 penalty in the Hawaii as respective winners of Grade 2 events in the previous 13 months.
The Hawaii and the Empress Club would obviously be hard asks for Humdinger, who would officially be 5,5kg under sufferance with Under Your Spell in both races.
Under Your Spell will escape having to carry a Grade 1 penalty in the Hawaii, because her Grade 1 win in the Allan Robertson happened outside of that previous 13 month cut off period.