The African Queen makes all at Wolverhampton

by John Scanlon


Despite a less than ideal draw, The African Queen made it two wins from four career starts when making all the running to land a fillies’ novice event at Wolverhampton on December 16.

The juvenile filly by The Last Lion, owned by John Brown and Partner, had made a winning debut at Brighton in July, before running down the field in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown next time out on soft ground.

Returning after a break of over three months, The African Queen turned out in a fillies’ novice race at Chelmsford on November 11 and acquitted herself well, finishing third of the 12 runners over seven furlongs.

At Wolverhampton, 11 runners went to post for the fillies’ novice event over a mile and half a furlong. In addition to The African Queen, the stable fielded newcomer La Fleur Petrus, with recent course and distance winner, Bigtime Bridget, looking the filly to beat. Franny Norton took the ride on The African Queen, who was drawn in stall 10, towards the outside of the track.

Franny Norton ensured the filly was smartly away and The African Queen led from Pegasus Of Harry in the early stages, with Bigtime Bridget racing in third. As La Fleur Petrus raced in midfield, Bigtime Bridget soon moved through to track Franny Norton’s filly in second.

Turning for home, The African Queen continued to lead but Bigtime Bridget looked dangerous and was in the perfect position to challenge. To her credit, however, The African Queen was not for passing and she saw out this longer trip well, holding off the favourite reasonably comfortably to score by a neck. La Fleur Petrus gave an excellent account of herself on this debut run, finishing well to take fourth, and beaten just around a length by the winner.

The winner is out of John Brown’s Helmet mare, Burgonet, whom Mark trained to win three of her six races as a three-year-old in 2018. Burgonet was rated 87 at the end of her career and she has obviously transmitted some of her ability, and her stamina, to The African Queen.

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