Rising star routs colts in South Africa

More Than Ready filly Ektifaa slammed the colts with a stunning first-up victory in the G3 Tony Ruffel Stakes (1400m) at Turffontein on Saturday.

An Australian import blessed with loads of ability, she swept to the front in the straight and never looked like being caught by the chasers.  Recent Secretariat Stakes winner Matador Man made up ground but apprentice Callan Murray had enough in hand to salute the crowd.

Ektifaa was last seen completing a hat-trick in the G2 Choice Carriers Championship (1400m) at Kenilworth in October.  She also gave Shadwell’s Sheikh Hamdan and trainer Mike De Kock a running double in the Tony Ruffel Stakes following Suyoof (Magic Albert) who is now based in Dubai.

“Her pedigree suggests the mile will be her maximum,” De Kock said after the away win in Cape Town.  “She’s a decent filly and we’ve had stakes winners from every crop bought by Shadwell in Australia.”

Ektifaa joins More Than Ready stars Entisaar (G1 Allan Robertson Championship) and Banaadeer (LR Storm Bird Stakes) in that group and will now head to the G2 Gauteng Guineas (1600m) at Turffontein on March 4.

It’s the first-leg of the Triple Tiara and De Kock will then decide whether to stretch out for the G1 Fillies Classic (1800m) on April 1 or G2 South African Oaks (2400m) on May 6.

Ektifaa is the first foal of Stellar Vinia (Redoute’s Choice) who is a half-sister to Calveen (G1 NZ Easter Hcp) and the stakes winners Fireworks, Kosi Bay and Striker.  She was bred and sold by John Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds for $600,000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter yearling sale.

Her More Than Ready yearling brother has been catalogued as Lot 372 at this year’s Easter Sale.  He’s among 20 yearlings by the Vinery champion entered for the final Easter Sale at Newmarket.