Highlands’ super stallion Dynasty registered a smart feature double on L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate day when 3yo Eyes Wide Open played himself into Sun Met contention with an impressive victory in the R400 000 Glorious Goodwood Gr2 Peninsula Handicap.
Earlier Dynasty’s son Our Emperor won the Gr3 Chairman’s Cup and Eyes Wide Open rounded a great feature double here.
The only 3yo in a fifteen strong field of seasoned hardknockers, last season’s Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes winner Eyes Wide Open benefitted from a great ride by the underrated Anthony Andrews and put his Sun Met hand up – at the same time putting three ordinary runs this season well behind him.
Trainer Glen Kotzen explained the rationale behind a last minute decision to supplement the lightly-raced galloper into the Gr2 Peninsula Handicap.
“I am blessed with some really lovely 3yo’s and I wasn’t keen to have them all bump each other in the Derby. So I chatted to Hugo (Hattingh) and we thought we’d take on the older horses and see where we stand with them, before making any decisions. If he pulls up sound, I think we may go the Met route after this,” he explained.
Eyes Wide Open had missed the Cape Guineas with a respiratory ailment and the Woodhill Racing trainer paid tribute to his leading owner for his patience. “It always pays you back in the end,” he quipped.
As to why Anthony Andrews had gotten the ride ahead of the winner’s owners Chrigor Stud sponsored Richard Fourie, who rode Ollivander, the explanation was a simple one.
“Eyes Wide Open was supplemented. Richard (Fourie) had already accepted on Ollivander. So Anthony (Andrews) was available and he rides work here and is an up-and-coming rider. It worked out well,” added Kotzen.
Andrews had Eyes Wide Open five lengths off the pacesetting Milton in sixth and kept his head in the straight as inexperience saw his mount lug inwards under pressure. With Dean Kannemeyer’s The Slade breathing down his neck, Eyes Wide Open always had the upper hand and went on well to score by 0,75 lengths in a time of 110,11 secs.
The Slade, an improving son of Philanthropist, is not entered for the Met, but maintained his good form, ahead of Platinum Prince in third.
Closest of the Sun Met hopefuls behind Eyes Wide Open was Horizon, who plodded into fourth 4,25 lengths off the winner – and a length ahead of Krambambuli.
The Highlands bred Eyes Wide Open is a son of Dynasty (Fort Wood) out of the one time winning Live Your Dreams (Jallad).
An R850 000 BSA KZN Sibaya Yearling Sale graduate, Eyes Wide Open has won 3 races with 1 place from 7 starts and took his stakes tally to R783 375.
Whisky Baron won this race last year before going on to win the Sun Met.
Gr2 Peninsula Handicap (SAf-Gr2)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 6, R400k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.50.11
1 – EYES WIDE OPEN (SAF), 52.0, b c 3, Dynasty (SAF) – Live Your Dreams (SAF) by Jallad (USA). Owner Chrigor Stud (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Mrs S Hattingh); Breeder Highlands; trainer GS Kotzen; jockey A Andrews
2 – The Slade (SAF), 54.0, ch g 4, Philanthropist (USA) – Aquatint (AUS) by Peintre Celebre (USA)
3 – Platinum Prince (SAF), 53.0, b g 4, Silvano (GER) – Spirit Ofthe Dance (SAF) by Goldmark (SAF)
Margins: 0.75, 2.00, 1.50