Gai Waterhouse-trained Driefontein is on track for the 2014 Robert Sangster Classic after recording an impressive win in the Group 3 Irwin Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Two-time Group 1 winner Platelet started the Irwin Stakes as an odds-on favourite and the Strategic mare was well positioned at the start of the race, but was no match for Driefontein who showed her explosive turn-of-foot to record her third win at Group level.
Jockey Vlad Duric, who also took out the Listed Redelva Stakes with Minaj in Adelaide on Saturday, positioned Driefontein just behind the leaders and he believes that suited the Fastnet Rock mare.
“She just missed the start a neck and then I was going to have to work too hard to get in the one-two position,” Duric said after the race.
“I made the decision to take the sit behind them and it was probably the winning move.”
Driefontein started the year with a strong win carrying the top weight of 61 kilograms in the Magic Millions Fillies And Mares Quality (1300m) at the Gold Coast on January 11, but failed to fire in two starts during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival; finishing sixth in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15 and fifth in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at the same venue on March 1.
Duric blamed the wet Rosehill Gardens track for the less than stellar performances of Driefontein in both of her starts in Sydney this preparation and believes that the four-year-old will be tough to beat in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on April 26, if the race is run on a dry track.
“I think the key for her today was the dry track,” Duric said.
“She had a couple of wet-track runs in Sydney and they weren’t disappointing, she just failed to handle the ground.
“A dry track was a bonus and hopefully she gets it again in a couple of weeks.”
“She was dominant today.”
Waterhouse has only previously had one runner in the Robert Sangster Classic, Montana Flyer who finished ninth behind Rostova in the 2010 edition of the race, while Duric will be riding in the Group 1 event for the fourth time after finishing second with Fayrouz in 2001.