WINTER REIGNS IN GARDENIA STAKES

Talented five-year-old mare Hello Winter Hello made a winning debut, and for her new connections, in Gauteng when storming home to account for some very speedy fillies and mares in Saturday’s Listed Gardenia Stakes (1000m) at Turffontein.

Now in the care of Johan Janse Van Vuuren, the former Adam Marcus trained mare was also making her first start since finishing eighth in last season’s G1 South African Fillies Sprint –and handsomely reversed the form with her Fillies Sprint conqueror Singforafa.

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Given a superbly timed ride by Warren Kennedy, Hello Winter Hello was dropped well off the pace, as the likes of Singforafa, Bella Chica and Anna Capri all raced prominently early.

Singforafa, who had won last year’s Gardenia, looked on course to defend her title with 200m left to go, but Kennedy launched Hello Winter Hello with a potent late run, and the pair flashed up late to score by two lengths going away.

The front runner, who was conceding the winner 3kgs, was game back in second, with the lightly raced, and progressive Lucy English finishing third.

Lucy English went close to providing her recently deceased sire Duke Of Marmalade with his first posthumous Listed win.

Bred by the Collins Stud, Hello Winter Hello claimed the 2021 Gardenia Stakes in a time of 57.23 seconds.

The mare has now won six of her 16 starts, with Hello Winter Hello’s previous scores including both the Listed Laisserfaire Stakes and Listed Olympic Duel Stakes of 2020.

By Drakenstein Stud’s prolific sire What A Winter, Hello Winter Hello is the best runner produced by G3 Champagne Stakes winner I’m Like Hello (by Dominion Royale).

Images: JC Photos