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Rain In Holland got a second bite at the Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 due to a conditions change to include older fillies and mares and she was awarded the victor’s bridle (Candiese lenferna Photography). 


Most were happy with the decision after seeing the quality of the field.

However, one man who disagreed strongly was trainer Stuart Pettigrew. whose older filly Gilded Butterfly was one of the most unlucky runners in the race.

Pettigrew, when spoken to afterwards and agreeing she was unlucky, added, “There is now no longer a three-year-old Grade 1 in KZN and there would have been plenty of three-year-olds who would have taken part, including Feather Boa.”

There is a three-year-old Grade 1 in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, the WSB Cape Fillies Guineas and the Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic over 1800m respectively.

Pettigrew felt the decision to change the Woolavington conditions to allow older horses in was a “disgrace”.

He decided to leave Feather Boa at home.

She is by Flower Alley, whose progeny tend to continually progress, just like Gr 2 Gerald Rosenberg winner Gilded Butterfly has.

Winning trainer Sean Tarry admitted after the race he had originally earmarked a three-year-old for the race and he must have been talking about Bless My Stars, who beat Feather Boa by a short-head in the Gr 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic over 1800m. However, in the end Tarry, like Pettigrew, only ran one older horse, the winner Rain In Holland.

In the first seven finishers on Saturday, only fourth-placed Hold My Hand was a three-year-old and in the last seven finishers only one was an older horse.

However, those same three-year-olds might well do better in this race next year as stronger and more experienced four-year-olds.  

Saturday’s race was a particularly rough one, which could possibly have been another reason the older fillies and mares fared better.