The long-striding Captain Al colt Undercover Agent gave part-owner Greg Bortz, SA log-leading champion apprentice Lyle Hewitson and Cape breeders Moutonshoek Stud, their respective first Gr1 victories, when the 3yo won the sprint for home to bank the first cheque in the R1 million Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Greyville on Saturday.
After fifteen years – a long time these days in the life of a feature race sponsor – Vijay Maharaj and his Rising Sun team have upped their game every year and get the community hyped up for their big day. The Gr1 feature was run before an enthusiastic and very decent crowd at the inner city track.
With only eight runners lining up for the final Vodacom Durban July guaranteed entry event of 2018, it was the 2017 title holder Captain America who led Copper Force and the initially headstrong Undercover Agent early.
Into the home run Captain America continued to gallop strongly as his stablemate Undercover Agent breathed down his neck, with Snaith star Snowdance and Sail South staying on well.
At the 250m a lack of fitness told on Captain America, as Undercover Agent charged past, with Snowdance in hot pursuit.
As he has done so often this season, the young Avontuur-sponsored Lyle Hewitson had timed his run to perfection and the colt when on to beat Snowdance by a half length in a time of 96,58 secs.
The two Brett Crawford 7yo’s Sail South and Captain America completed the quartet to make it a first, third and fourth cheque for the Philippi operation.
July candidate Gold Standard appeared to be in need of the run and was beaten out of the money.
A R325 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate, Undercover Agent is a winner of 5 races with 2 places from 10 starts and stakes of a bumper R4 041 875!
Bred by Moutonshoek,whose first Gr1 winner this was, the winner is a son of deceased champion Captain Al (Al Mufti) out of the twice winning Secret Risk (London News).
Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, June 9, R1 million, 1600m, turf, soft, 1.36.58
1 – UNDERCOVER AGENT (SAF), 58.5, b c 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Secret Risk by London News (SAF). Owner Messrs Greg Bortz & A J van Huyssteen; Breeder Moutonshoek; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey L Hewitson
2 – Snowdance (SAF), 56.0, b f 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Spring Lilac (SAF) by Joshua Dancer (USA)
3 – Sail South (SAF), 60.0, b g 7, Sail From Seattle (USA) – Southern Pride (SAF) by Northfields (USA)
Margins: 0.50, 0.25, 0.75