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Princess Calla (15-10), the perennial bridesmaid to Captain’s Ransom in Graded races for fillies and mares, made full use of the absence of her accomplished rival and delighted her fans with a commanding victory in the G1 R1 250 000 HSH Princess Charlene Gr1 Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday.

A recent winner of the G3 Prix Du Cap, South Africa’s newest equine millionaire was already a G2 winner, and had twice won at G3 level, with two G1 runner-up credits to her name.

Princess Calla got her well-deserved moment of glory when jockey Aldo Domeyer made it a Fortune family celebration with a beautifully judged ride to get the Maine Chance bred filly home from her younger rival Under Your Spell, who loomed up on her inside to launch a determined challenge but was comprehensively outgunned over the last 100m of the contest.

Sparkling Water (13-2) turned in a good prep run for Champions Day, finishing well in third, with Cape raider Zarina (11-2) a well-beaten fourth.

Formerly trained by Adam Marcus at Milnerton, Princess Calla was transferred to Ashley Fortune at the Vaal earlier this year. It was a dream come true for Fortune, who prepared the filly to perfection and saddled her first G1 winner.

Domeyer has the pick of rides from Candice Bass-Robinson’s yard, and indeed could have gone for either Zarina or Chat Ching, but his decision to commit to Princess Calla gave him the rare pleasure of providing his former SA Champion jockey Dad Andrew and Step-Mom Ashley with a milestone moment in all their lives.

Domeyer wrote on Facebook: “I think this past month has probably aged me a year but I would not have had it any other way. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we have moments in life and moments in our careers that are simply unforgettable, but not often do they get to share the spotlight in such a deep emotional and personal capacity. I got to live out a childhood dream with my idol, my hero, and my father. This win certainly hit home different.”

Ashley Fortune thanked her team, including jockeys Ryan Munger and Chad Little, and paid tribute to owner Mario Ferreira. She also thanked Marcus for delivering his former filly in excellent shape.

Princess Calla is a daughter of Wilgerbosdrift’s red-hot sire Flower Alley out of the Captain Al mare Princess Royal. Another CTS Group 1 winning graduate purchased from the 2019 Cape Premier Yearling Sale for R600 000, she has now won 5 races, with 9 places from 16 starts, for stakes of R1 759 850.