The Adam Marcus-trained Priceless Jewel started at justified cramped odds in the R250 000 Gr3 Champagne Stakes run at Kenilworth on Saturday. The top quality daughter of Ashaawes never gave her supporters a moment of stress – although the speedy Var mare Knock ‘Em Out looked full of fight into the final 400m.
On the weight-for-age terms of the early season Women’s Day feature, it was very difficult to oppose the consistent 9 t0 20 favourite Priceless Jewel and she was a popular exotic banker on a day of small fields.
But the forgone conclusion of victory may not have seemed so at the halfway mark as the deceptive angle of the Kenilworth straight 1200m showed Craig Du Plooy going great guns on the 7yo Knock ‘Em Out.
At that stage, Captainofmysoul had moved up on the outside but looked to be going out the back door with Kevin Shea hard at work on what looked to be an outpaced favourite.
But the picture changed dramatically into the final stages with Priceless Jewel finding her feet as her elastic stride carried her forward.
Shea produced her at the 300m and she glided past the pacemaking Knock ‘Em Out and drew away to win well by 3,50 lengths in a time of 76,87 secs.
The Witch Doctor showed promise after her 27 week rest by staying on for second.
Captainofmysoul looked dead and buried at the halfway marker, but Anton Marcus managed to coax some effort out of her and he got her to come again to grab third cheque.
Knock ‘Em Out was reduced to a walk in the last 200m and she stumbled in to run fourth in a straggly drawn out finish that saw the slow out Als Bonanza last and 23,25 lengths behind the winner.
Priceless Jewel was bred by Geoff Armitage and is by Ashaawes out of the seven-time winning Kahir Almaydan, So Royal.
She has been a model of consistency throughout her career and notched up her eighth win with six places from 18 starts and R827 050 in stakes.
Joey Ramsden converted his recent spate of seconds into a nice winning treble on the afternoon.
Anton Marcus also made his trip down from KZN worthwhile as Jackson’s smart-looking R2,2 million full-brother Heartland won the second race on debut, by half the racecourse.