Running Brave Targeting Gr1 Empress Club

Camphoratus and Running Brave in the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes. Image: Chase Liebenberg.

Randjesfontein trainer Paul Matchett was stunned to see the price bookmakers were offering for his Brave Tin Soldier filly Running Brave at Turffontein Standside on Saturday.

She later converted odds of 15/1 in the Pinnacle Stakes event over 1400m, beating the 15/20 favourite Celtic Sea by 1,50 lengths. 

Matchett now wants to run the gallant filly in the Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes, in which she finished a narrow second last year to #kznbred Camphoratus, although he is still waiting to hear whether the restrictions placed on personnel during the national lockdown will have an affect on his horses’ training programs. 

Running Brave will later go down to KZN for the SA Champions Season where the defense of her Grade 2 Gold Bracelet crown will be among her targets.

Pundits had made Celtic Sea a virtual certainty on Saturday as she was in form and according to official merit ratings was 6kg well in with Running Brave, who was the second best weighted horse and appeared to be off form.

Furthermore, Celtic Sea is a twice Grade 1-winner and was named Equus Champion Three-year-old filly last season.

However, the pundits failed to take into account a number of factors.

The first was the head to head count between these two horses. Incredibly, that statistic now stands at Running Brave five, Celtic Sea two.

The second point, which Matchett pointed out was there for the public to see via replays and in the stipendiary report, was that Running Brave had over-raced badly in her previous start in the Grade 3 Acacia Handicap over 1600m and this had explained her 13,80 length beating.

He said, “She was being ridden by a jockey who didn’t know her and he tried to tuck her in. She hates that, if you try and restrain her she fights.”

Running Brave had used up all her fuel by the time they reached the business end of that race and began hanging from the 400m mark.

Meanwhile, Celtic Sea was having her first run back from a tough Cape Town campaign and it was likely a preparation run for the Empress Club Stakes.

This filly has a beautiful action and the alarm bells were ringing some way out on Saturday as she was apparently not enjoying the rain affected ground and was never travelling as well as she can.

Running Brave, on the other hand, was loving her favourite front-running role and was enjoying the conditions.

Celtic Sea ranged up to her and headed her but Running Brave, who was receiving 2kg, readily found extra to win cosily. 

Running Brave’s odds will be shorter in the Empress Club and pundits should this time take note she beat Celtic Sea by 4,05 lengths in that weight for age event last year when finishing a neck runner up to Camphoratus in good to soft conditions. 

-Gold Circle

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