Maine Chance stallions dominate the Gr.3 Strelitzia Stakes

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Maine Chance stallions dominated the outcome of the Gr.3 Strelitzia Stakes at Scottsville, while providing Vercingetorix with a newly-minted stakes winner, his fifth overall.

Restricted to juvenile fillies, this 1100m dash up the straight was widely expected to be at the mercy of unbeaten Var filly Delta Queen. However, after disputing the lead with Querari’s daughter Slalom Queen, she ran out of steam and could finish only third.

Slalom Queen looked all set for victory inside the final furlong, but she had no answer to the withering finish produced by Vernichey, who swept past on her inside to power home for a length victory, with Slalom Queen finishing a similar margin in front of Delta Queen.

Experience over the track stood the winner in good stead, as she had previously recorded an impressive four-length maiden romp up the Scottsville strip.

Young trainer Gareth van Zyl had purchased the filly for R125,000 from vendors Birch Brothers at the 2019 KwaZulu-Natal Yearling Sale. Although the filly is registered as  Klawervlei-bred, she was in fact foaled and raised by the famous Dordrecht breeders. As Colin Birch explained: “We took over her dam Pirate Queen from John Koster after breeding a couple of foals in partnership. Vernichey was born, raised and named here with me. We are so proud of her!”

Vernichey’s dam is the three-time winning sprinter Pirate Queen (Captain Al), while grand dam Giant’s Slipper (Giant’s Causeway) is an unraced daughter of the outstanding Australian juvenile Burst (Marauding), whose three Gr.1 wins included the Holy Grail of Australian two-year-old races, the Golden Slipper.