A somewhat controversial Vodacom Durban July inclusion last season, the very capable Dark Moon Rising finally put it all together when registering his first stakes success to get up in a thriller to win the R250 000 Listed Kings Cup at Greyville on Sunday.
Two highly respected jockeys once told trainer Paul Lafferty that he would ‘not train a better stayer’ than Dark Moon Rising.
The newsmaking gelding, who didn’t quite cut it in the July and the Gold Cup last season, showed on Sunday that he is a genuine and honest handicapper at anywhere from a mile to 2000m.
Ridden by Keagan de Melo and carrying 58kgs off a muddling pace, Dark Moon Rising got the better of a three way tussle with topweight Matador Man (62kgs) and the game Aussie bred filly Roy’s Riviera (54 kgs) when he emerged as the ham in the sandwich to beat the Greyville specialist Matador Man by a head in a time of 98.18 secs.
Roy’s Riviera was not disgraced in third another neck away, with Snaith season opener Platinum Prince needing it slightly to run fourth.
In something of a feather in the handicapper’s cap, the top 6 finished with 2,10 lengths of each other.
Trainer Paul Lafferty said that the R4 million Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein on 4 May could be Dark Moon Rising’s next target. It’s a conditions race and looks a mountainous prospect with the likes of Hawaam likely to be in the line up.
The Summerveld trainer also mentioned the WSB Gr2 1900 at Greyville on 18 May as another possibility. Dark Moon Rising ran second in this race last term behind Elusive Silva.
A winner of 6 races with 7 places from 20 starts, Dark Moon Rising took his stakes earnings to R672 700 on Sunday.
A R70 000 CTS 2015 March Yearling Sale buy-back, the winner was bred by Dr Ian Heyns and is a son of Ideal World (Kingmambo) out of the five-time winner Full Moon Rising (Second Empire).