Gem King closes in on Winter Series victory

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Gem King closes in on Winter Series victory

GEM KING WINS LEGAL EAGLE STAKES

Gem King moved within one race of claiming the 2022 WSB Winter Series with a comfortable victory in the World Sports Betting Legal Eagle Stakes (Grade 3) over 1800m at Kenilworth on Saturday.

Going off as the 3-1 second favourite and ridden by Richard Fourie, the Piet Steyn-trained Master Of My Fate gelding came from last to beat Winchester Mansion (14-1) by 0.75 lengths with well-supported 11-10 favourite Future Prince another 1.25-lengths back in third.   

Gem King got up close home to beat Future Prince in the first leg of the Winter Series to claim the World Sports Betting Variety Club Mile last month and now needs to win the Grade 3 WSB Pocket Power Stakes over 2400m on Saturday 25 June to claim the R200,000 bonus that goes with a Winter Series victory.

It marks a professional triumph for trainer Piet Steyn who has done a great job patching up and conditioning this gelding.

Steyn revealed that Gem King’s legs require constant care, icing and stretching so it was with deep satisfaction that he watched his charge dash through down the inside for a fifth win from 12 starts.

After a few miscues when sprinting at the beginning of his career, Gem King is now really thriving. This was his fourth victory from the last five starts as he matures into a handsome and fleet-footed three-year old physically able to handle longer routes.

Gem King is owned by Greenacres Trust (Nominee Marsh Shirtliff) and Bryn Ressell and was bred at Varsfontein Stud. He is out of the Damascus Gate mare, Gem Queen.

Winchester Mansion kicked on smartly for second, handling the step-up in class and trip well enough without being able to go with the eased down winner. Heavily punted Future Prince slotted in third, but just as happened in the first Leg, could not match Gem King’s superior turn of foot.

The Listed WSB Stormsvlei Stakes over 1800m for three-year-old fillies fell to Maria Querol who set the pace then fought back gamely after being headed 300m out. Jockey Craig Zackey complimented the daughter of Querari on a “gutsy” win, while stable representative Jonathan Snaith highlighted her aptitude in softer ground.

Maria Querol was one of the best juveniles in the Cape last year but had battled to assert herself subsequently. Snaith provided the clue to her resurgence on a softer surface, though it was a nail-biting fight to the line as she only just staved off Fleeting and Peut Etre Moi with Going Up nearby in a blanket finish.

Less than a length covered the first four across the line.

Easy to back at 10-1 after drifting out from an opening call of 9-2 upon serious support for Going Up, Maria Querol was bred by Maine Chance and the Coolmore Partnership. This determined filly has now won four of 11 starts and is worth following especially when it comes up mud during the rainy months. – 4RACING

PICTURE PROVIDED BY CHASE LIEBENBERG

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