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Western Winter one-two in Cape Classic

The result of the Gr3 Cape Classic was never in doubt, with a multiple winning son of Western Winter fully expected to take the honours in impressive fashion.

That’s exactly how things worked out – only with an unexpected son of the former Champion sire coming out on top. Instead of the Bass-trained What A Winter retaining his unbeaten record, it was Justin Snaith whose Solo Traveller completed the hattrick, at odds of 14/1. What A Winter, who’d started at 3/10, battled on late to grab second, with short heads separating the placed horses.

As a contest, the Cape Classic didn’t quite unfold as expected. Peculiarly for a 1400m race run on the old course with its tight bend, there wasn’t much of a pace early on. What A Winter looked to be one of the sufferers, refusing to settle early on, then finding himself in midfield behind a wall of horses when the run for home started up the short straight. What A Winter was switched out dramatically, but didn’t get a clear run, being held tight for a good few strides between runners by the eventual winner who showed good acceleration. When the favourite finally saw daylight the expected fireworks fizzled quickly. It looked at one stage as if he wouldn’t even make the frame, but jockey Neisius dug in late and What A Winter did keep going. Two short heads separated him from third and fourth, with the rest of the runners within four lengths, second finisher to last.

Clearly this wasn’t a true run race, as the final time showed when compared to an earlier race where Pocket Power went under to Tales Of Bravery. That race was over 1500m, and in comparison Solo Traveller should have been almost 2 second faster for the Cape Classic to have been run at the same pace. It was a sprint home then that decided matters in the Classic. What A Winter may have been too far out of his ground coming into the short straight, and may not have had the clear passage needed. But still, the expected overdrive was missing. To be a champion, more is needed.

Enough about What A Winter. Accolades belong to Solo Traveller, who came home alone and whose classic pretensions are beginning to take shape now. He ran widest of all around the bend, just off the quarters of What A Winter. The pair started their run at the same time, with Solo Traveller much the better finisher.

Solo Traveller is a son of former champion sire Western Winter, out of Jallad mare Strawberry Lane who won once race over a mile, from six attempts. She’s the dam also of very useful sprinter Strawberry Ice, a full sister to Solo Traveller.

Strawberry Lane is a full sister to highclass Jalberry, bred by Farrell Ratner and Len Salzman who have has remarkable success over the years with their breeding efforts. But they missed out by selling Jalberry’s dam in foal to Jallad to Des Scott, who is the official breeder of Strawberry Lane and sold her for 475k as a yearling at Nationals, hot on the heels of the year-older Jalberry’s 2yo exploits.

Solo Traveller races in the colours of his breeder Lammerskraal Stud, who now own Strawberry Lane. The colt has three wins, a second and a third to his credit, from all his starts to date, for earnings of just over R200k. The Cape Classic win was his first effort on going that wasn’t officially soft or heavy. Solo Traveller did improve considerably on his previous form, but it must be remembered that at the weights he had a considerable advantage over the favourite (What A Winter gave him 3kg). He still has things to prove in the months leading up to the summer classics.

Cape Classic (SAf-G3) (10/30)

Kenilworth, South Africa, October 30, R200.000, 1400m, turf, good, 1.27.77 (CR 1.24.00).

SOLO TRAVELLER (SAF), 54.0, b c 3, Western Winter – Strawberry Lane (SAF) by Jallad. Owner & breeder Lammerskraal Stud (SAf); trainer J Snaith; jockey R Danielson (R132.609)

What A Winter (SAF), 57.0, b c 3, Western Winter – Waseela (IRE) by Ahonoora (IRE).

Top Seller (SAF), 55.0, b c 3, Al Mufti – Top Of The Range (SAF) by Northern Guest

Margins: 2¼, sh hd, sh hd

Also ran: Wolf On The Fold (SAF) 54.0, King Fahiem (SAF) 52.0, Azapel (SAF) 54.0, Ridge Too Far (SAF) 54.0, Mystic Moon (SAF) 54.0, Blazing Moon (SAF) 52.0, Foreign Sovereign (SAF) 52.0, Copper Parade (SAF) 59.5

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