POWERFUL galloper Viva Maria (headline photo) added the Grade 3 Flamboyant Stakes over 1600m, contested on New Year’s Day at Clairwood, to last season’s Grade 1 Woolavington success.
With her customary front-running tactics, Viva Maria (18-10 favourite) once again outgunned her rivals under jockey Anthony Delpech, racing to the line 2.25-lengths clear of Keep On Dreaming.
Versatile Viva Maria, owned and bred by Mike Rattray’s Lammerskraal Stud, will be leaving for Cape Town early next week to contest the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes over 1800m, which looks a tailor-made target since she’s now won races over a mile, 1750m, 1950 and 2000m.
Assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen commented: “Viva Maria just needed her last run after a rest and she’d improved nicely since. She stumbled at the start today, but recovered well and did it in easy fashion. She has a few more lengths to come and we hope to have her cherry ripe for the Paddock Stakes.”
Viva Maria has won five of ten starts for the Rattrays and she’s another feather in the cap of her deceased sire, Jet Master. She’s from the mare Bardot, by Badger Land, and after the Flamboyant her career stake earnings is up to R577,000.
At Turffontein, three-year-old gelding Tequila Sunrise ran on strongly to win his Maiden Plate over 1800m, ridden by Raymond Danielson. The Captain Al gelding is a progressive sort who stays well and this won’t be his last win for owners, Tmen Stables.