Joey Ramsden’s outstanding 3yo colt Act Of War reaffirmed his position as the true champion of his age group in South Africa with an impressive winning performance in the R1 million Grand Parade Gr1 Cape Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday.
In the process, Act Of War went one better than his champion sire Dynasty who had finished runner-up in the classic eleven years earlier when also jumping a prohibitive short odds favourite.
The top-class colt’s victory was also the cherry on top of a memorable day for his trainer Joey Ramsden, who saddled five winners, as well as for his high-riding owners Markus and Ingrid Jooste, who owned six of the ten winners on the afternoon, including a lovely feature double.
Act Of War has now notched up a Gr1, a Gr2, two Gr3’s and a Listed feature and his racing career is not even eight months old!
Gliding into the lead at the 350m marker, Act Of War went off at 13 to 20 and annihilated the KZN challenger Harry’s Son by 1,75 lengths in a time of 99,22 secs.
The Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes winner was given a peach of a ride by Piere Strydom, but had no answer to the superior finish of the Cape champion. There may be some excuses for his travelling programme but he will need to find a few lengths to ever beat Act Of War.
Act Of War’s stablemate Kingvoldt ran on well for third, 3,50 lengths ahead of the lesser fancied of the Sean Tarry runners, Imperial Gold.
The previously unbeaten Ready To Run Stakes winner Zambezi River plodded into fifth.He should not be written off.
The rest were well beaten.
Winning jockey Bernard Fayd’herbe (Act Of War’s sixth different rider in his seven run career so far) said he was an ‘exciting horse to ride’.
“I had the 2 draw and would have been happy sitting up third. He played up a bit and many thanks to Malan du Toit for his help at the start. My mount landed up missing the break but he was relaxed in running. Into the straight I was watching Piere (Strydom on Harry’s Son) and was following Anthony (Delpech on Kingvoldt). I squeezed him and Act Of War just got there so quickly. He is a true champion – one of the better horses I have ever sat on,” he said.
That is fighting talk from Pocket Power’s jockey!
Trainer Joey Ramsden, who flies out to the United Kingdom on Sunday for Christmas, looked decidedly relieved after a week of serious pressure.
“A great win and I had him as well as I felt I could get him. I must say sorry to my wife – even I surprised myself about the depths I managed to sink to this past week. There is not one homeopathic medicine I haven’t tried in the past few days. And the speeds I reached in my Porche – I made James Dean look like a kerb crawler! But full marks to the runner up – it was a bold decision to have come down,” he said with his typical cocktail of serious banter and typical British wit.
Mayfair Speculators’ Derek Brugman, representing owner Markus Jooste, said that he was happy to have won the race. An understatement in any language!
“He got left and Bernie had to rush him. He is so good though– you can switch him off or on. We are now looking at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, the Met or the Derby. And the intention is to get him out of the country to race on the world stage,” he said.
Act Of War was bred by Arc En Ciel Stud and is by Dynasty out of the four time winning Cordoba mare, Si Senorita, who raced for Auctioneer Alf Duncan, in her track days in the Cape.
Read more about his breeder, who was interviewed by us on the eve of the big race, earlier this week.
Act Of War was a R550 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale buy and has now won 6 of his 7 starts with 1 place for stakes of R1 288 000.
The world must be his oyster.
Gr1 Cape Guineas (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, December 20, R1 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.39.22
1 – ACT OF WAR (SAF), 58.0, b c 3, Dynasty (SAF) – Si Senorita (SAF) by Cordoba (USA). Owner Mrs I Jooste & Mr M J Jooste; Breeder Arc-en-Ciel; trainer J Ramsden; jockey B Fayd’herbe
2 – Harry’s Son (AUS), 58.0, b c 3, Haradasun (AUS) – Dash On Ruby (AUS) by Anabaa (USA)
3 – Kingvoldt (SAF), 58.0, b c 3, Western Winter (USA) – Red Parade (SAF) by Parade Leader (USA)
Margins: 1.75, 0.20, 3.50