It was a big feature winning weekend for the Armitages of Sandown Stud. After French Navy’s crushing win in Saturday’s Gr1 at Greyville, Adam Marcus saddled another Sandown product when the talented Horse Chestnut filly Crystal Cavern made up many lengths to win the R150 000 Listed Stormsvlei Mile at Kenilworth on a wet Sunday.
The second leg of the R600 000 Winter Series for Fillies attracted a mixed quality ten-strong field of 3yo fillies, with first leg winner Sunset Tripp in the mix and looking to set herself up for a winning treble.
With rain falling steadily the going was headed in the direction of soft as they jumped in the first feature of the afternoon.
After Colour Magic and Lady Ming had set the pace and come back to their field at the 300m, the race developed into a tussle between Sunset Tripp and Moonsong Magic, with Crystal Cavern finishing powerfully under S’manga Khumalo down the outside.
There was nothing separating the top four, but Khumalo had timed his run to perfection and the 8-1 Crystal Cavern flew up late from stone last to grab the lead inside the 200m and beat the smartly improved Elusive Stars by a half length in a time of 101,66 secs.
The luckless favourite Moonsong Magic just failed to put her head in front when it counted, but ran a brave race under Greg Cheyne to grab third cheque ahead of Sunset Tripp. She will win a good few races yet.
Only 1,45 lengths separated the top four home.
Justin Snaith trained Cat And The Moon failed to deliver her customary kick and finished in midfield in a disappointing run.
Winning trainer Adam Marcus said that Crystal Cavern’s last run made her form ‘look bad’.
“She messed around in the gates and came back lame. But this was a great effort today – and I was surprised that she made it up so well in the heavy going.”
Crystal Cavern was bred by Geoff Armitage and is by Horse Chestnut out of the good mare So Royal. The daughter of Kahir Almaydan also produced the outstanding Priceless Jewel (Ashaawes) who is trained by Marcus.
This was Crystal Cavern’s first stakes win and could be the start of something decent for her owners.
She has won 4 races from 1200m to a mile, with 5 places from her 12 starts and R258 650 in stakes.