South Africa’s reigning Horse Of The Year Summer Pudding showed her class with a classy win in Saturday’s G1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes (1600m) at Turffontein.

By some way the highest-rated runner in the horse field, Summer Pudding was all the rage for the Empress Club Stakes, coming into the race off a smart win in the G2 Colorado King Stakes last time out, and the champion eventually jumped a 4-10 tote favourite.

Consistent four-year-old Wisteria Walk (whose sire Vercingetorix shares his sire Silvano with Summer Pudding), jumped out and went to make the running, as Warren Kennedy settled Summer Pudding in third spot, just off the front runner.

Kennedy appeared to have plenty of horse under him as the field turned for home, and Wisteria Walk.

However, the jockey had to ask Summer Pudding a few questions, before the champion put the race to bed. The Paul Peter trained favourite stayed on to score by a cosy three-parts of a length, while seemingly being eased up at the wire by Kennedy.

The game Running Brave, who had played up before the race, flew up late to claim second spot in the Empress Club Stakes for a second time -the daughter of Brave Tin Soldier having filled the runner up berth in the 2019 Empress Club Stakes. Running Brave, who had also finished second to Summer Pudding in the G1 World Sports Betting Gauteng Summer Cup earlier this season, finished two lengths clear of third-place finisher Lady Of Steel.

Now a winner of 11 of her 12 starts, including last season’s Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara and G1 Woolavington 2000, Summer Pudding claimed her fourth G1 victory in a time of 97.46.

Owned by her breeder Mauritzfontein, Summer Pudding, who has now seven graded wins to her name, is one of 99 stakes winners sired by now pensioned five times South African champion sire Silvano, and her G3 Jacaranda Handicap winning dam Cherry On The Cake is a Strike Smartly half-sister to Equus Champion Cherry On The Top.

Image: JC Photos