The Silvano mare Girl On The Run booked her Sansui Summer Cup berth with a thrilling hard-fought victory in the R400 000 Gr3 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein on Thursday evening.
The traditional Summer Cup last chance saloon lived up to its billing and the outcome may have influenced some decisions – both for punters and trainers, with Girl On The Run and Coral Fever putting up their big-race hands with a forward showing.
The 1800m contest hosted twelve runners, with the likes of Abashiri and Orchid Island using the race to build fitness in advance of the Gauteng flagship on 25 November.
Gavin Lerena, who wasted down to a commendable 54,5kgs, had Fort Ember out front for most of the trip but the daughter of Elusive Fort was closely watched by Donavan Mansour on Girl On The Run all the way around.
With Muzi Yeni riding a fast gaining Coral Fever for all he was worth all the way up the home straight, Mansour brought Girl On The Run to lead at the 200m – and despite Jubilee Handicap winner Coral Fever appearing to have superior momentum, Girl On The Run came right back at the Robbie Sage galloper to get the nod on the photo-finish by a short head.
The winner’s time was 111.38 secs and ended a frustrating run of narrow defeats for theJohan Janse van Vuuren team.
Master Switch stayed on well for third, with Orchid Island (Delpech declared a half kilo over) obviously needing the outing after a 22 week break to run fourth. She should strip fit for the Summer Cup.
Fort Ember showed for a long way and ran best of the balance of the Summer Cup hopefuls to finish 2,90 lengths back in fifth.
Triple Crown winner Abashiri never showed to finish sixth and 4 lengths off the winner. His trainer expected him to need the run and he is another who will be primed to fire on 25 November.
Sean Tarry’s Matador Man finished 0,25 lengths behind Abashiri in seventh and seems an unlikely Summer Cup contender on this showing, with serious question marks over his ability to go 2000m.
The Maine Chance Farms-bred 4yo Girl On The Run is a daughter of champion Silvano (Lomitas) and is out of the unraced Girl From Granada (Badger Land).
This was her second stakes success after winning the 2016 Gr3 Yellowwood Handicap.
She has won 6 races with 8 places from 15 starts and stakes of R860 625.
Maine Chance Racing Manager Glen Hatt was on track to lead the mare in.
Summer Cup final entries close at 11h00 on Monday 13 November.
Declarations for the race are due by 11h00 on Tuesday 14 November.
The draws and final field will be announced on Wednesday 15 November.
Gr3 Victory Moon Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, November 9, R400k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.51.38
1 – GIRL ON THE RUN (SAF), 50.0, ch m 5, Silvano (GER) – Girl From Grenada (SAF) by Badger Land (USA). Owner Maine Chance Farms (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Dr W A & Mrs N Jacobs); Breeder Maine Chance; trainer JAJ v Vuuren; jockey D Mansour
2 – Coral Fever (SAF), 51.0, ch g 5, Judpot (USA) – Coral Tree (SAF) by Rich Man’s Gold (USA)
3 – Master Switch (SAF), 54.0, b g 6, Jet Master (SAF) – Lady Windsor (SAF) by Al Mufti (USA)
Margins: 0.05, 1.10, 1.70