Leading Cape trainer Dean Kannemeyer took a pleasant step back in time on Super Saturday with the internationally recognised Fieldspring Racing silks bringing memories flooding back of days of glory in the Greyville Gr1 winner’s enclosure. In Writing and the legendary Felix Coetzee were the ultimate heroes of one of the great races and supreme tests of courage on the SA racing calendar.
The general lack of focus and priority on staying type races means that a twenty strong field for a Gr1 3200m race worth a cool million rand, will inevitably have its detractors and those that suggest it lacks depth. But whatever one’s opinion regarding passengers and contestants making up numbers, there are few that could argue that Saturday’s grandstand finish did not have them on the edge of their seats. Formerly sponsored by Canon, this was the inaugural running of the Ladbrokes sponsored Gold Cup.
It was a memorable afternoon for the affable, reserved and quietly spoken Kannemeyer who, during the build-up phase to the race, had for once vocally and openly touted the serious chances of both of his runners. The man who trained Dynasty and Eyeofthetiger to win the Vodacom Durban July in 2003 and 2006 for Fieldspring Racing, had the added support at Greyville of his legendary Dad, Peter, whose partner Irene Rudden is a co-owner of the eventual third –placed finisher, Blake. Dean trained Colonial Girl to win this race in 2000, the first year of his Dad’s retirement.
The race was also a triumph for 53 year old jockey Felix Coetzee, who registered a remarkable eighth Gold Cup win, in so doing breaking Charlie Barends’ record. Coetzee, who has won just about everything of consequence that there is to win in racing, emotionally punched the air in delight as his mount flashed across the line, just ahead of the gallant Princess Of Light.
The race panned out perfectly for a horse that has been a revelation since having the blinkers removed. In Writing’s victory was also a tribute to the time-honoured tradition of Kannemeyer patience, as he had been rested for eighteen months after doing a tendon.
It was a race of three basic chapters , with In Writing staying out of trouble and getting gradual perfect cover from Princess Of Light and then later on, Kolkata.
As the pack went past the grandstand for the first time to a roar from the crowd, Anton Marcus had shown the De Kock runner Vettel to the head of affairs, and he led a keen Princess Of Light and In Writing, with Aslan and Blake further back. But Coetzee was wasting no time and Vettel was soon passed by In Writing as they scrambled off into the country. In Writing looked relaxed and was just where he prefers to be.
At about the 1700m marker, an impatient and shrewd veteran, Marthinus Mienie, took Princess Of Light out to lead In Writing from Seal, Vettel and Aslan, while Blake was further back- but handier than he usually races.
As the field went through the 1000m marker, Piere Strydom took Kolkata up to second spot in an aggressive move to test flagging muscles and to pressure Princess Of Light, who was dictating matters to her own taste. This had the effect of slotting In Writing into a perfect box seat as the field made the turn for home.
Kolkata looked to challenge Princess Of Light briefly at the top of the straight, but his effort faded rather tamely as In Writing challenged the Woodruff filly. Blake was also seen to good effect as he produced his customary late burst. But none had an answer for the dogged staying prowess of In Writing, who stuck to his task gamely and won convincingly at a rather generous 13-1. He won in a time of 203,12secs and this is put into perspective by Aquanaut’s course record of 198 secs.
The Gr1 success would have gone some way to propelling Kannemeyer into the national champion trainer top ten after a satisfying season.
The more fancied of the stable coupling, Blake, ran his heart out just behind the front two in third position,and there are few horses at Group level as consistent and genuine as this very capable son of Dynasty. He earned R100 000 for his connections, to add to his Lonsdale Stirrup Cup and Gold Vase cheques, and he has more than paid his way this Champions Season.
The effort of the second placed filly was an awesome advert for our leading sensational Avontuur stallion,Var.
This was a remarkable feat by a horse that was sired by one of the fastest animals to win over 1000m in Europe, and who has produced multiple Gr1 champions, such as Variety Club and Val De Ra. Geoff Woodruff’s 4yo filly Princess Of Light truly ran a cracker, when failing by just 0,75 lengths to hold the sustained challenge of the two year older Argentinian male – this after doing the donkey work up front for all of 1650m! The highly experienced Marthinus Mienie just kept his head down and was riding for his life as she looked for all the world like a winner inside the final 200m.
Considering the size of the field and the distance of the race, only 14,45 lengths covered first to last. And as usual, there were a few disappointments:
Colin Scott probably needs to go back to basics with the frustrating Sage Throne, who was backed into 9-1 as it was rumoured that he was crying out for the ground and that Super Saturday would be his day. He finished in seventh position. This fellow is just a four-time winner and probably had his spirit broken when losing the 2010 KZN Derby in the boardroom to current Mauritius-based hotshot, Il Saggiatore.
Sean Tarry’s Kolkata may not have enjoyed the muddling pace, and after being given every chance by Piere Strydom, stopped late to run eighth.
Mike De Kock, who criticised the prevailing tail wind conditions as not making for good racing, had Gorongosa in fifth but the balance of his quartet disappointed.
Ilsanpietro finished best in ninth, followed by the 3yo Argentinian-bred Vettel in eleventh. The disappointing Captain’s Wild could only finish 15th.
It is probably fair to say that trainer Mike Bass has little depth in his older staying ranks at the present time and he also had a blank race, with only Jeppe’s Reef catching the eye. The son of the versatile Jallad stormed through too late to run sixth and 3,10 lengths off the winner at 50-1. The rest of the Bass attack didn’t feature, with Thanks John (13th), the mare Croc Valley (17th) and Golden Parachute (18th) never threatening.
Corne Spies’ Campo De Santana finished stone last.
In Writing is a handsome specimen who was bred in Argentina by Haras Abolengo by Editor’s Note – a son of champion 2yo Forty Niner, who was by champion sire Mr Prospector. In Writing is out of the Candy Stripes mare Inalay. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Rene Douglas, who was given the assignment after Gary Stevens was injured, Editor’s Note is best known for his classic stretch duel with Skip Away in the 1996 Belmont Stakes, beating Preakness Stakes winner Louis Quatorze, who was unplaced. Editor’s Note was originally retired in 1997 to Overbrook Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, but was exported in 2004 to Argentina.
Trainer Dean Kannemeyer said that he recalled paying approximately R350 000 for the chestnut on one of his highly successful South American buying missions. The team included two other wise men in flamboyant leading veterinarian, Dr John McVeigh and Form Bloodstock’s Jehan Malherbe.
Kannemeyer became quite emotional in the post-race interview when pointing out that In Writing was originally owned in partnership by the late legends, Laurie Jaffee and John Newsome.
A winner of 6 races with 14 places from his 32 starts for career earnings of R1 204 584, In Writing will no doubt be given a well-deserved holiday before being brought out in the Cape Summer.
This gelding carries his age and mileage so well, we could just see him back defending his Gold Cup crown in 2013.
Ladbrokes Gold Cup (SAf-G1) (7/28)
Greyville, South Africa, July 28, R1 million, 3200m, turf, good, 3.20.12 (CR 3.18.00).
IN WRITING (ARG), 57.5, ch g 6, Editor’s Note – Inalay (ARG) by Candy Stripes. Owner Fieldspring Racing; breeder Haras Abolengo (ARG); trainer D Kannemeyer; jockey F Coetzee (R625.000)
Princess Of Light (SAF), 56.0, b f 4, Var – Star Of Arcole (SAF) by Foveros (GB)
Blake (SAF), 58.5, b g 5, Dynasty (SAF) – Watercolours (NZ) by Nassipour
Margins: ¾, ¾, 1
Also ran: Seal (SAF) 60.0, Gorongosa (IRE) 56.5, Jeppe’s Reef (SAF) 52.5, Sage Throne (SAF) 57.5, Kolkata (SAF) 54.0, Ilsanpietro (BRZ) 59.0, Soul Master (SAF) 56.0, Vettel (ARG) 55.5, Aslan (SAF) 56.5, Thanks John (SAF) 54.5, Heyouneverknow (BRZ) 55.0, Captain’s Wild (SAF) 57.0, Top Seller (SAF) 57.5, Croc Valley (SAF) 55.5, Golden Parachute (NZ) 53.5, Sun City (SAF) 54.5, Campo De Santana (SAF) 52.5