Strelitzia Stakes (Grade 3)

Scottsville, Turf, 1100m, 26 April 2015

Visionaire stakes his claim! Team Valor filly unbeaten and heads to Grade 1 date next month.
— Sporting Post

Summerhill Stud stallion Visionaire’s flagbrearer Royal Pleasure established another milestone for her exciting sire when she became his first South African-bred stakes winner when pulverising her field to win the R150,000 Grade 3 Strelitzia Stakes run over 1100m at Scottsville on Sunday.

Trained by Glen Kotzen out of his Summerveld satellite base, Royal Pleasure had won her first two starts over the Scottsville 1000m in fine style and maintained her unbeaten record with a cracking first feature win on Sunday.

She was bumping her highly vaunted and well related stable companion Princess Royal for the first time and the two dominated the betting boards, with Royal Pleasure eventually jumping at 18-10.

Exposed to the extra 100m for the first time, she was relaxed a few lengths off recent maiden winner Maria Estella and the pacy Eastern Cape visitor, Baloo Baleerie. At the 300m, pilot Anton Marcus sent Royal Pleasure for home and she extended to beat Paul Peter’s Miracle Rising by 0,75 lengths in a time of 63,65 secs.

Her stablemate Princess Royal was troublesome at the jump and was some way back early. She then ran into traffic at about the 400m and did well to rattle on for third, two lengths behind the winner.

Anton Marcus indicated that he had no doubt Royal Pleasure would go 1200m if ‘ridden conservatively’, although cautioned that she was ‘pretty much on empty’ at the line on Sunday.

Team Valor’s Barry Irwin was previously on record suggesting that the aim was to exploit Royal Pleasure’s natural speed and precocity. Things are certainly going to plan and she looks set to make her first Grade 1 appearance next month at the same track.

A son of Gone West stallion, Grand Slam, Royal Pleasure’s USA-bred sire Visionaire stood one season in Kentucky before being brought to stand at Summerhill in South Africa by the astute Barry Irwin from 2011.

Royal Pleasure was bred by Team Valor and was purchased for a bargain R30,000 on the 2014 KZN Suncoast Yearling Sale by Andy Williams’ Worldwide Bloodstock. She recently changed hands in part for an undisclosed sum.

She is out of the King Of Kings mare, Royal Purse, who was unplaced in 3 starts at 2 to 4. The dam is a half-sister to Jalberry, the dam of Count Express and Singapore winner Mr Fantastic.

Royal Pleasure in now unbeaten in three from three and took her career earnings to R217,500.

Extracts from Sporting Post / Gold Circle (p)