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 – Written by Mark van Deventer

What a Winter filly, WINTER CLOUD used her brilliant turn of foot to beat Bass Racing trained stable mate, October Morn in the Champagne Stakes, a Grade 3 race down the Hollywoodbets Kenilworth 1200m straight course.  

Three-year-old gelding Questioning just snuck into third ahead of Dance Variety, 1.3 lengths off the eye-catching winner, who won easing down having passed practically the whole field within a furlong.  

WINTER CLOUD’s starting price was 13/2 in the 11-runner contest. The winner’s time was 71.38 seconds on a windless, overcast afternoon. 

Candice Bass-Robinson confirmed that both fillies will truck up to Scottsville in mid-May for the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint a couple of weeks later. In winning her sixth race from 11 starts, WINTER CLOUD surpassed earnings of R1 million. Said Bass-Robinson, “Though she’s furnished nicely, she is still not the best work horse, but she switches off well in her races and has an incredible turn of foot.” 

Jockey Anthony Andrews, who stayed a perfect three from three on the filly, had this to say about the Drakenstein Stud bred, full sister to multiple Gr1 winner, Cloud Unfold, “She is still on the up and one to follow at Scottsville. This was far easier than the actual margin as she never even got a smack.” 

5/2 favourite, second placed OCTOBER MORN (related to Gr1 Gold Medallion winner, Tempting Fate) – though needing the run slightly and shifting ground at the 300m mark – emerged with credit after making a ziggy-zaggy move from the back of the field. This high-class daughter of Trippi will strip fitter for her next start, and the winner of the Gr2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes in January 2024 also looms as a principal contender for Graded sprints during the KZN Winter season. 

Cape Classic victor, QUESTIONING (a blinkers strike had the desired effect), stayed on enthusiastically to round out the trifecta, just ahead of consistent DANCE VARIETY, who is sustaining ultra reliable form throughout his four-year-old campaign.