HELEN’S Ideal first caught the eye properly when she led the Gr1 Cape Derby field against the colts until close home and actually earned a fifth-placed cheque for her sterling effort.

On the strength of that alone she was a three-year-old filly with clear feature potential and her first big success came on Saturday when she fought resolutely to win the Listed Stormsvlei Stakes over 1600m by a next from Star Fighter.

Paul Reeves, another astute Cape trainer who runs a successful small stable, said that he’d been a little worried when Star Fighter came to challenge Helen’s Ideal.

“I thought she was having a tough time out there, her tail was swishing. But Donovan Dillon put his stick away at that point, a very confident ride as it take some guts to do that. I though she went away from them again at the end.”

Jockey Donovan Dillon confirmed: “She’s a lovely filly to ride, a gem and she’s still learning about it, believe or not.”

Reeves said that he’ll be pointing Helen’s Ideal at the Winter Oaks over 2400m and told Turf Talk: “She’s a true professional and I believe she will see out the 2400m in fillies class off a slower pace than the Derby, where she got a bit tired towards the end and ran across the track.”

Helen’s Ideal is raced by her breeder Peter de Beyer and partner Paul Barrett, who named the daughter of Mauritzfontein’s stallion Ideal World after his wife. She is now five wins from 10 starts with over R400,000 in her owners’ kitty.

De Beyer said: “Well done to Donovan, I think he was pleased to get the ride back after injuring his knee. Well done also to Paul and his team back home. Now we’ve got a ticket into the third leg of the Winter Series.”

He added: “Helen’s Ideal is versatile and I think she’s one of those fillies we’ll see the best of next year when she’s older.

Barrett said: “Paul’s doing an outstanding job as a small trainer, considering his small string.” 

Photo: Wayne Marks.