Brett Crawford’s game speedster Gulf Storm came of age in style at Kenilworth on Saturday, when sneaking home in a thrilling finish to the R1 million Gr1 Cape Flying Championship to give regular pilot Corne Orffer his first Gr1 win.
Crawford and Orffer have developed into a combative force to be reckoned with in the Cape and even if the partnership only developed by chance through an injury to veteran jockey Glen Hatt, the pair have flourished and gone from strength to strength.
With luck temporarily deserting Justin Snaith, with Daring Dave losing lengths at the start, it was S’manga Khumalo who showed the benefits of what he had learnt in the Sceptre Stakes disaster, as he had Carry On Alice scooting along out front, just ahead of Guiness.
Gulf Storm was tucked in about three lengths off and within shouting range of the leader.
Into the final 300m, the headwind took it’s toll on the front-runners as Gulf Storm and Brutal Force took off almost simultaneously on opposite sides of the track.
In the most thrilling finish of the afternoon, the photo showed that Gulf Storm had snuck in between Tevez and Carry On Alice to get his head down and beat the flying Brutal Force on the outside by a head – the gallant winner clocked a time of 56,92 secs. The track record of 56 secs is held by Muscatt and dates back to 2012.
The tote favourite Carry On Alice hung on for third, ahead of the always game, Tevez.
After his slow start, Daring Dave took off late to run just 3,20 lengths behind the winner.
Louis Goosen’s top Joburg sprinter Trip Tease was all dressed up with nowhere to go, and after endless traffic issues, ran downfield to end a disappointing Cape campaign.
The Ascot Stud-bred winner is a son of the deceased Sail From Seattle out of the very fast four-time winning Kilconnel mare, Royal Drummer.
A R225 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1 graduate, he has now won 8 races with 9 places from 24 starts, and took his stakes earnings to R1 356 250.
A deserved Gr1 win and Gulf Storm should be a serious force to be reckoned with in the KZN Champions Season later this year.
Gr1 Cape Flying Championship (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 30, R1 million, 1000m, turf, good, 58.92
1 – GULF STORM (SAF), 60.0, b g 5, Sail From Seattle (USA) – Royal Drummer (SAF) by Kilconnel (USA). Owner Mrs D J Sherrell; Breeder Ascot Stud; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey C Orffer
2 – Brutal Force (SAF), 60.0, ch g 4, Western Winter (USA) – Nacarat (SAF) by Pas De Quoi (SAF)
3 – Carry On Alice (SAF), 57.5, b f 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Carry On Katie (SAF) by Western Winter (USA)
Margins: 0.10, 0.30, 0.05