While Saturday’s G1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes (1600m) was cited to be a match race between star three-year-olds War Of Athena and Captain’s Ransom, the star fillies both went down to defeat, with the Hollywoodbets Greyville contest for fillies and mares going the way of 75-1 outsider Zarina

While racing fans and punters may rue the result of the 2021 Garden Province Stakes, the race still proved a thrilling contest for purists. Less than a neck separated the first three home in a nail biting finish for the connections!

War Of Athena’s pacemaker Only The Brave went out to set a brisk pace, with Captain’s Ransom and War Of Athena racing well off the pace.

Captain’s Ransom never really threatened to get into contention on a day which proved disappointing for her trainer Justin Snaith, while the front runner quickly dropped out of contention turning for home.

In contrast, Princess Calla launched a strong challenge down the center of the course and looked a hard horse to peg back, as War Of Athena battled to get on terms down the inside.

However, De Melo coaxed a strong late burst from Zarina, and that long shot got up in the shadow of the post to snare a short head win, over a game Princess Calla.

After a long season, War Of Athena had to settle for third spot, but finished just a head off the winner.

It was a second consecutive Garden Province win for jockey Keagan De Melo, with the latter also booting home last year’s winner Temple Grafin.

Bred by the Oldlands Stud, the Candice Bass-Robinson trained Zarina has now won five of ten starts, including this season’s G3 Vasco Prix Du Cap.

The filly is the third G1 winner for the Varsfontein Stud based Jet Master horse Master Of My Fate, also responsible for Sentbydestiny (G1 Premiers Champion Stakes) and Tempting Fate (G1 Gold Medallion).

The temperamental Zarina is out of the Kitalpha mare Mamalushka, a winning daughter of the stakes placed Hallgate mare Breezing On.

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