The smaller Cape yards held their own on Guineas day.
Milnerton based Adam Marcus followed his colleague Mike Robinson’s example when saddling the third Gr3 winner of his career, courtesy of the Go Deputy gelding Royal Badge who outstayed his opposition to win the R250 000 Gr3 Cape Summer Stayers.
South Africa’s youngest trainer, Marcus major successes included Priceless Jewel (an Ashaawes half-sister to Saturday’s winner) who won the Gr3 Prix Du Cap and Gr3 Champagne Stakes in 2014, followed by Crystal Cavern winning the 2015 Listed Stormsvlei Mile.
He was obviously thrilled to lead in a feature winner on one of the major days of the Cape Summer of Champions.
The 2500m contest drew a decent field of 13 and surviving Pick 6 players went into the final leg of the popular exotic bet with a tricky mountain to climb.
With Dean Kannemeyer’s classy stayer Cape Speed a lukewarm 4-1 favourite and East Cape Derby winner Captain Splendid next on offer at 5-1, the race was wide open and it was not surprising to see a ‘roughie’ emerging from the deep.
Gothic led early as Corne Orffer had Royal Badge relaxed in midfield on the rail. Gothic was passed around halfway by Kenilworth Cup winner Smart Mart, who in turn was challenged early in the straight by Dynastic Power.
All the while Royal Badge had been making good ground, and with Smart Mart and Dynastic Power coming under pressure early in the straight, Corne Orffer gave the son of Go Deputy his head and the 4yo stayed on best to beat the always committed Three Balloons by 2,75 lengths in a time of 156,80 secs.
The pacemaker Smart Mart stayed on for third.
Royal Badge shed his maiden first time out over 1200m and had previously only ever been tried up to 2000m, having won at 1800m.
His excellent third behind Bass-Robinson star Marinaresco in the Gr3 Winter Classic gave some notice of his potential, and he could now train on into something decent.
The winner was the second Go Deputy feature scorer on the afternoon.
He was bred by James Armitage and is out of the Kahir Almaydan mare So Royal, who won seven races from a mile to 1800m.
Royal Badge has won 4 races with 2 places from 11 starts and stakes of R318 310.
Gr3 Cape Summer Stayers (SAf-Gr3)
Kenilworth, South Africa, December 17, R250k, 2500m, turf, good, 2.36.08
1 – ROYAL BADGE (SAF), 53.0, b g 4, Go Deputy (USA) – So Royal (SAF) by Kahir Almaydan (IRE). Owner Mr M J Baigel, Mr E G & Mrs L C Bouwer & Mr B Marcus; Breeder GJ Armitage; trainer AN Marcus; jockey C Orffer
2 – Three Balloons (SAF), 52.5, b g 5, Judpot (USA) – Souen (IRE) by Montjeu (IRE)
3 – Smart Mart (SAF), 53.0, b g 5, Mambo In Seattle (USA) – Joyful Dancer (SAF) by Almushtarak (IRE)
Margins: 2.75, 0.75, 0.20