Irridescence defeats Ouija Board in Hong Kong Grade 1
IRRIDESCENCE (Saf)
(2001 black filly, Caesour--Meretricious, by Dancing Champ)

Champion 3yo Filly in South Africa

Won Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup-Grade 1
Won Woolavington S-Grade 1
Won South Africa Fillies Classic-Grade 1
Won Gerald Rosenburg S.--Grade 2
Won Balanchine S.--Listed
2nd Beverly D. S.--Grade 1
2nd Falmouth S.--Grade 1




Irridescence was bred by the assistant farm manager at Varsfontein Stud, the famous South African nursery where the daughter of home stallion Caesour (Nureyev) was raised. Consigned to a yearling sale, she was knocked down on a bid of 160,000 rand (approximately $25,000), but returned when the winning bidder complained she was a cribber.

Bloodstock agent Jehan Malherbe bought her for clients Tony Moodley and trainer Mike de Kock, who raced her at 2 and part-way through her season at 3, when she ran second in the South African Fillies Guineas over a mile at Turffontein.

Team Valor acquired Irridescence on the eve of the 10-furlong South African Fillies Classic, a Grade 1 race she won and in the process provided her former owners with a bonus from her new connections. Bloodstock agent Robin Bruss handled the transaction.

Irridescence next engaged in an epic battle with Champion Older Mare Jamaica in the 10-furlong Gerald Rosenberg Stakes under weight-for-age conditions and prevailed gamely after a stretch-long struggle.

The rapidly improving de Kock protégé then scored authoritatively against her members of her own age and sex in the Grade 1 Woolavington going 11 furlongs. Having won the only two Grade 1 races on offer for sophomore fillies beyond a mile on the calendar, Irridescence was voted Champion Filly at 3.

Irridescence suffered the lone defeat on her resume for Team Valor when finishing fifth beaten about 1 1/3 lengths in the Durban July going 11 furlongs. She had no excuse, ran well, but was unable to make the frame behind a moderate pace.

Irridescence following her win in Dubai
Sent to Dubai with Mike de Kock, Irridescence was a most impressive winner debuting over 9 furlongs in the Balanchine Stakes, a Listed event for fillies and mares. Never under any serious pressure through the stretch run while making the pace, Irridescence proved a convincing winner over French Group winner Satwa Queen.

Rated officially at 102 before the race, she emerged a budding international star, pegged at 115. Timeform rated the filly at 118, representing a leap of several class levels.

Irridescence was meant to start in the Grade 1 Dubai Duty Free, which with an enriched purse of $5 million shared the distinction of being the richest race ever offered on turf in the world. However, on World Cup night she was too tightly wound, began hopping around when her rider was given a leg up and wound up catching a metal post with her right hind stifle, forcing her withdrawal.

A month later Irridescence ran in the $1.8-million Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong, made all and won in a three-horse photo over locally-owned Best Gift and earlier Hong Kong winner Ouija Board, the highest-rated filly or mare in the world.

Weichong Marwing rode the filly in all of her races for Team Valor and the stable attributes a great portion of her success to him.

Irridescence retired to broodmare duty in Kentucky following a narrow loss in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park.


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