Justin Snaith’s top-class 4yo Kasimir surely sealed the Equus Champion Sprinter title when he dug deep under another superb ride by Richard Fourie to win the R1 million Gr1 Mercury Sprint at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.
The Mercury Sprint is often a decider for the Equus selection panel, but with his Cape summer campaign triple success, headlined by the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship, already under the belt, Kasimir’s performance on Saturday was courage and class personified and merely an endorsement of his status.
The top four finishers in the weight-for-age 1200m feature were established at the jump where recent dual Gr1 winner Celtic Sea led Palace Chapel, with stablemates Kasimir and Snowdance next best.
At the 300m, Celtic Sea was challenged strongly by the longshot Gauteng visitor Palace Chapel, as Fourie pulled the left-handed crop on Kasimir, who darted to the inside rail – but had a fight on his hands.
In a thrilling final 150m, Fourie cajoled Kasimir (19-10) with a few left handed strikes as the gelding put his head down and powered to the line – getting the better of the smart 3yo filly Celtic Sea (4-1) by a half length in a time of 71,24 secs.
Palace Chapel (36-1) confirmed the hot form of the Paul Peter yard as he stayed on for third, ahead of the never dangerous Snowdance, who ran from a wide gate.
Another Gr1 winner on the day bred by Drakenstein Stud, Kasimir is a son of deceased champion sire Captain Al (Al Mufti) and is out of the top-class Gr1 producing three-time winner Aquatint (Peintre Celebre).
A R1,2 million Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate, he took his earnings to R3 250 875 with his seventh win and seven places from 16 starts.
Gr1 Mercury Sprint (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, July 27, R1 million, 1200m, turf, good, 1.11.24
1 – KASIMIR (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Aquatint (AUS) by Peintre Celebre (USA). Owner Messrs W P Drew & B Kantor, Mesdames A M Doyle, D Nagle & Paul Shanahan; Breeder Drakenstein Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey R Fourie
2 – Celtic Sea (SAF), 57.0, b f 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Ireland (BRZ) by Mark Of Esteem (IRE)
3 – Palace Chapel (SAF), 59.5, b c 3, Potala Palace (SAF) – Gem Quality (SAF) by Special Preview (SAF)
Margins: 0.50, 0.30, 0.90