The tough 7yo Captain America bid his legion of fans a fond farewell as he made it a winning swansong at Greyville on Saturday with a terrific display of power galloping to win the R1 million Gr1 Champions Cup. A unique talent, Captain America earned a cheque at 30 of his 35 starts for owners Delma Sherrell, Diane Nagle and Adam Gurney.
Brett Crawford, who won three Gr1’s in the 2018 SA Champions Season, has done an outstanding job with the big gelding who was registering his tenth win in a distinguished career that saw him earn over R6, 1 million
Crawford also has an obvious affinity with the Champions Cup, having won the end of season Gr1 four times in the past five years – and repeated his exacta feat of last year.
The Philippi conditioner started his Champions Cup winning roll with present day Highlands stallion Jackson in 2013, and then won it twice with yet another son of super sire Dynasty – Drakenstein stallion Futura who achieved the 2014/15 double. He then saddled the exacta last year with Sail South beating Captain America.
Not having seen the winner’s enclosure since the 2017 Gr1 Gold Challenge, Captain America came out galloping aggressively on Saturday under regular pilot Corne Orffer and never stopped grinding out front – leaving the trio of Gr1 3yo’s to fight out a separate race for second.
He beat his Gr1 winning stablemate Undercover Agent, who capped his own outstanding season, by 2 lengths in a time of 110, 54 secs.
Investec Cape Derby winner Eyes Wide Open, who did some of the donkey work early on, was a head back in third, with Cape Guineas winner Tap O’Noth a further nose back in fourth.
Gold Standard again failed to fire, running 9 lengths back, with Drill Hall Stakes hero Perovskia finishing stone last.
Winning rider Corne Orffer said after the race that Captain America wasn’t only the best horse he has ever ridden – he was a friend too!
Captain America was a R400 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, and was re-sold for R500 000 at the Ready To Run Sale 8 months later.
He won 10 races with 20 places from 35 starts for stakes of a healthy R6 112 925.
The Varsfontein Stud bred gelding is a son of the deceased champion Captain Al (Al Mufti) out of the five-time winning Requista(Fort Wood).
Gr1 Champions Cup (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, July 28, R1 million, 1800m, turf, good, 1.50.54
1 – CAPTAIN AMERICA (SAF), 60.0, b g 7, Captain Al (SAF) – Requista (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA). Owner Mesdames Adam Gurney, D Nagle & D J Sherrell; Breeder Varsfontein Stud; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey C Orffer
2 – Undercover Agent (SAF), 58.5, b c 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Secret Risk by London News (SAF)
3 – Eyes Wide Open (SAF), 58.5, b c 3, Dynasty (SAF) – Live Your Dreams (SAF) by Jallad (USA)
Margins: 2.00, 0.05, 0.05