Superior fitness, a touch of genuine class and a top drawer ride by Bernard Fayd’herbe saw the Joey Ramsden-trained Liquid Mercury lift the honours in a hard fought R250 000 Gr3 Winter Derby at Kenilworth on Saturday. The powerful grey gelding’s win also made it a feature double on the chilly Cape afternoon for Drakenstein bred progeny of their resident sire, Trippi.
With decent placed efforts in the Cape Derby and the first two legs of the Cape Winter Series, Liquid Mercury had long looked a decent prospect to vie for top honours in the testing 2400m final leg.
And what a thriller of a race it turned out to be as his rider showed his hand early in the home straight, to hold on for an unlikely looking win.
Drawn wide out in the eleven horse field, and with no obvious pacemaker in the pack, Fayd’herbe had Liquid Mercury in no-mans land for the first 600m as Seize The Throne led My World.
At about the 1200m marker, with the modest pace in mind, replacement rider Anthony Andrews, who had earlier opened Geoff Woodruff’s Cape sattelite account, took the natural frontrunning Even So around his field to up the ante.
This created the environment for Fayd’herbe to slot Liquid Mercury into a more comfortable position as the field was stretched out.
Even So led into the home run, as Liquid Mercury surged ahead strongly, with Royal Dreamer looping his field four wide from midfield, after his rider Greg Cheyne appeared to realise that the big grey was on his bicycle.
Even So hung out on to Liquid Mercury for a stride or two at the top of the home dash, but Fayd’herbe had the grey in full flight and having committed, he went for broke as he angled his mount out and galloped strongly.
With Royal Dreamer challenging, and Night In Seattle and Master’s Eye chasing, Liquid Mercury pinned his ears back and dug deep.
A win had looked unlikely at the 250m marker, but the grey’s fitness levels counted as he repelled all challengers and found a second wind to stay on best to win by 0,75 lengths in a time of 152,11 secs.A top ride!
He started at 7-2,and would have been a nerve-wracking, but popular exotic banker for many Sporting Post readers.
Master’s Eye followed up on his East Cape Derby runner up effort to St Tropez, by short heading Royal Dreamer for second.
Winter Classic winner Royal Dreamer maintained consistency and ran into third – but had no chance with the winner.
Liquid Mercury has won 5 races with 5 places from 11 starts and took his career earnings to R462 750.
He won 4 races on the trot from 1400m to 2000m in the Cape summer, before being beaten just over 4 lengths into third behind Ertijaal in the Gr1 Investec Cape Derby.
A class act with a bright future as a 4yo, the Drakenstein bred Liquid Mercury is by Trippi out of the well-related US bred Skip Away mare Skip Poker – and is a full brother to the stakes placed filly Trip Poker.
He was a R775 000 buy at the 2013 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1.
Gr3 Winter Derby (SAf-Gr3)
Kenilworth, South Africa, June 27, R250k, 2400m, turf, soft, 2.32.11
1 – LIQUID MERCURY (SAF), 59.0, gr g 3, Trippi (USA) – Skip Poker (USA) by Skip Away (ANY). Owner Mesdames K Finch & B Kieswetter, Mr B P Finch & Ridgemont Stud (Nom: Mr Craig Carey); Breeder Drakenstein Stud; trainer J Ramsden; jockey B Fayd’herbe
2 – Master’s Eye (SAF), 59.0, b g 3, Jet Master (SAF) – Jettatura (SAF) by Al Mufti (USA)
3 – Royal Dreamer (SAF), 60.0, b g 3, Rebel King (SAF) – Camden’s Jewel (SAF) by Camden Park (USA)
Margins: 0.75, 0.05, 0.75