Trainer Eric Sands and jockey Gareth Wright left their Summer Season best for last, when they teamed up to win the R150 000 Gr3 Two Oceans Racing Prix Du Cap with the smart Jet Master mare, Halfway To Heaven at Kenilworth on Saturday.
The fillies and mares 1400m contest was the penultimate feature of the Cape’s Sizzling Summer Season and produced something of an upset result as Gavin Walker’s pride and joy stormed clear to win at a generous 14 to 1.
Brett Crawford’s Frequent Flyer (19 to 10) and the Mike Bass 3yo Hammie’s Hooker (5 to 2), who dominated the betting, had to settle for second and fourth respectively.
The field of sixteen jumped well, except for Money Surger and Europe To Africa, who were both slow away. The Stipes reviewed the start, but took no action.
Sean Cormack took Ocean’s Swift up to lead the field from La Patineuse and with Earth’s Orbit and Frequent Flyer further back.
At this early stage Halfway To Heaven and the fancied Hammie’s Hooker were about eight lengths off the lead.
Into the straight Ocean’s Swift continued to lead La Patineuse, with Frequent Flyer making good ground up the middle. Ossie Noach was also working on Earth’s Orbit who was charging down the inside in the orange Mahony silks and looked quite dangerous for some way.
Inside the final 300m Frequent Flyer came forward down the outside as Gareth Wright was weaving his way through on Halfway To Heaven, who caught them ice cold as she stormed down the middle to win going away by one length in a time of 86,20 secs.
Frequent Flyer registered her second Group feature runner up spot on the trot, and seems destined to retire a Group race bridesmaid.
Jockey Ossie Noach, who had scored a terrific win earlier in the day on Captain’s Lullaby, would have been thrilled with his third place achievement on the Snaith outsider, Earth’s Orbit.
Winning owner/breeder Gavin Walker said it was ‘special when you breed them as well.’ He thanked the sponsors Lektron for a lovely day.
Winning trainer Eric Sands labelled Halfway To Heaven a ‘really smart filly who only started racing as a 4yo.’ He added that she had no luck on Met day in the Majorca Stakes.
Victorious jockey Gareth Wright, who was out of breath in the post race interview, said that he was thrilled and had expected a big run after having ridden all the work on the winner. “She picked them off and settled well off a decent pace.She had put in very good work,” he said.
Racing Association CEO Larry Wainstein presented the trophies.
Halfway To Heaven is by Jet Master out of the eight time winning Rambo Dancer mare, Pas De Basque. She has been brought along very astutely by the underrated Eric Sands and registered her first dash of black type.
She is lightly raced for a 5yo mare, but a model of genuine consistency.
She was having only her 13th outing and registered her sixth win and fifth place for career earnings of R331 350.
- The day’s sponsor Keith Steinberg received an achievement award from WPOTA (or the RA) for his outstanding contribution as a loyal owner to racing in the Cape. He has enjoyed over 100 winners.