In a thrilling finish to the R500 000 Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes, the 2018 runner-up Undercover Agent made amends in gallant style when he rallied right back after leading most of the way to beat Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge in a grandstand finish.
The traditional Vodacom Durban July starting point for many, Undercover Agent was returning after a 13 week break following his Sun Met fourth placed finish.
After going up to take his customary front-running role, where he was stalked by Cirillo, Lady In Black and Rainbow Bridge, Undercover Agent showed guts as he was headed by Cirillo at the 200m marker.
But Corne Orffer breathed deep for a final plunge and the 4yo colt showed his courage to hold off a flying Rainbow Bridge, who was switched in late.
At the line Undercover Agent held a neck advantage in a time of 83,39 secs.
Cirillo, a 3yo in receipt of 5kgs, stayed on doggedly for third cheque, a further 0,20 lengths back.
The good filly Lady In Black stayed on well for fourth.
A R325 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate, Undercover Agent is a winner of 7 races with 5 places from 16 starts and stakes of a healthy R5 721 875.
Bred by Moutonshoek,whose first Gr1 winner he was when winning the Gold Challenge last term, the winner is a son of deceased champion Captain Al (Al Mufti) out of the twice winning Secret Risk (London News).
Undercover Agent looks likely to bid for the Gr1 Gold Challenge double, while the Rattrays will be pleased with Rainbow Bridge’s cracking run – his first in their famous red and white silks. The son of Ideal World is bound to shorten in the Vodacom Durban July betting.
Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes (SAf-Gr2)
Greyville, South Africa, May 3, R500k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.23.39
1 – UNDERCOVER AGENT (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Secret Risk by London News (SAF). Owner Messrs Greg Bortz & A J van Huyssteen; Breeder Moutonshoek; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey C Orffer
2 – Rainbow Bridge (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
3 – Cirillo (SAF), 55.0, b c 3, Pomodoro (SAF) – Miss Wordsworth (SAF) by Lake Coniston (IRE)
Margins: 0.15, 0.20, 1.75