A beautifully judged front-running ride from JP van der Merwe made all the difference in the R80 000 Breeders Guineas Plate at Fairview on Friday.
The non black-type top-liner on the polytrack nine-race programme produced a thrilling finish with the former Met winning rider producing a pearler to keep the Gavin Smith-trained Royal Air Force filly Cloud Atlas going in the face of a powerful late threat from the fancied What A Player.
The talented Cloud Atlas – who was placed in a KZN feature early in her 3yo term – is no slouch and when she gets her head in front, is a difficult act to peg back over 1400m. Ridden confidently and aggressively is the way she likes it, and she showed terrific heart and courage to win by a head in a time of 84,11 secs.
Greg Cheyne, who had a frustrating afternoon with a host of places on fancied runners, looked to have timed his run to the tee on What A Player, but the Greeff runner just failed to lift her game in those last two strides. She should not be long in making amends.
Snaith challenger Bid Before Sunset was well beaten 5 lengths adrift in third.
Cloud Atlas was bred by Dr Ian Heyns and is a daughter of Royal Air Force (Jet Master) out of Festive Fantasy (Special Preview).
A R60 000 National 2yo Sale buy, Cloud Atlas has won 3 races with 4 places from 10 starts for stakes of R267 550.
Jacques Strydom and Karl Zechner were the star pairing on the afternoon, with Sao Paulo and Frikkie landing the double honours.