Trainer Sean Tarry looks to have a very strong hand in next month’s Emerald Cup with Saturday’s Gr3 August Stakes facile winner Across The Ice booking his place next to his stablemate Mr Tobin. Both will carry Durban July winning owner Chris Van Niekerk’s red and blue silks in Africa’s richest race on the sand.
The winner of the August Stakes is guaranteed automatic qualification for the Emerald Cup and Across The Ice looks set for a big effort on 22 September after his first win on the sand on Saturday.
Across The Ice started a weak5-2 favourite, but punters were generally spot-on as he never looked in danger of defeat from that precious 1 draw, under Jockey Robbie Fradd, who showed the benefit of years of international riding experience.
The heat was on from the start with Piere Strydom wasting no time in taking Furious Dancer up to lead Cape Winter, Wild Type and the Pettigrew runner Calanish.
Turning into the long home straight Furious Dancer continued to lead the charge with Across The Ice ghosting up from his pole position on the rails, while Calanish and Prime Mover looked to be in with chances.
Inside the final 300m Robbie Fradd produced Across The Ice who glided into the lead with his opposition floundering and most of the jockeys hard at work.
In the final stages the winner increased his lead as Captain’s Secret finally got going and ran on well to pip the pacy Cape Winter, who ran a cracker considering he was returning from a 151 day rest. Across The Ice won by an impressive 5,25 lengths in a time of 73,05secs.
Robbie Fradd rode his fourth winner of the afternoon in this feature and was to finish the day with a five win haul. He is riding with great confidence and it is also pleasing to see that he and Sean Tarry have teamed up again.
Mike Bass must be thrilled with the run of Captain’s Secret who jumped from a 13 draw and looked dead and buried coming from last with 400m to run. He dug deep to stay on well for a hard fought length second place despite appearing to run with his head carried rather awkwardly. He will have to raise his game again but this run may have inspired the confidence in his connections for him to stay up North and have a tilt at the Emerald Cup.
Gavin Van Zyl’s consistent turf campaigner Wild Type ran a very disappointing race after showing some good pace and finished 11,75 lengths back. He looks a different horse on the grass and we won’t see him in the Emerald Cup on this run.
The winner has now registered 4 wins and an extraordinary 15 places from his 30 starts for gross career earnings of R460 002. In fact that proliferation of place cheques on his record is probably of some concern to his connections as he has often appeared to lack the fight when the chips are down.
He cost owners Chris Van Niekerk and Mrkus Jooste R650 000 on the old Equimark Vintage Sale and still has a way to go to recoup that outlay.
Bred by Lammerskraal Stud, Across The Ice is by Western Winter out of the one-time winning Fort Wood mare, Akinfeet. That makes him a full brother to the promising Dean Kannemeyer colt Capetown Noir.
This was Across The Ice’s sixth run on the sand, and now that he has discovered the winning confidence recipe, he could well be a serious factor in the Emerald Cup.
The R125 000 non black-type Sandy Beach Stakes run over 1200m earlier was won by the Diane Stenger-trained 9-2 shot Sapphire Ring, who was given another terrific ride by Robbie Fradd. Always up with the pace, Fradd grabbed first run and shot the grey Spectrum mare clear at the 300m marker and she kept at it to hold the favourite, Follow The Piper.
The Highlands Stud-bred Sapphire Ring is out of the top-class Elliodor mare, Star Sapphire and was recording her fourth win from 17 starts for stake earnings of R313 300.
August Stakes(SAf-G3) (8/25)
Vaal, South Africa, August 25, R200.000, 1200m, sand, good, 1.13.05 (CR
ACROSS THE ICE (SAF), 52.5, b g, Western Winter – Akinfeet (SAF) by Fort
Wood. Owner C J H van Niekerk & M J Jooste; breeder Lammerskraal Stud (SAF);
trainer S G Tarry; jockey R Fradd (R125.000)
Captain’s Secret (SAF), 60.0, b g, Captain Al (SAF) – She’s No Secret (SAF)
by Our Casey’s Boy
Cape Winter (SAF), 52.5, ch g, Western Winter – Centre Court (SAF) by
Margins: 5¼, nk, sh hd
Also ran: Prime Mover (SAF), Furious Dancer (SAF), Calanish (SAF), Escape
Clause (SAF), The Plunderer (SAF), Wild Type (SAF), Extra Cover (SAF), Iron