Change Of Luck For Kotzen

Listed East Cape Sprint Cup

Glen Kotzen’s Woodhill Racing Team broke a frustrating and uncharacteristic six week drought when their classy Gimmethegreenlight gelding Countdown delivered a successful defence of his Listed East Cape Sprint Cup title at Fairview on Friday.

A year ago – coincidentally his last victory – Countdown beat Phedra under Grant van Niekerk to win the 2023 renewal of the 1200m contest, which was run on the polytrack.

Countdown (Denis Schwarz) defends his title to beat The Winter Lake (Muzi Yeni) at Fairview (Pic – Pauline Herman)

In the interim, he has been mildy inconsistent, with a standout eyecatching peak effort as runner-up in the Gr2 Cape Merchants behind Cosmic Highway in December 2023.

But ups and downs aside, on Friday Countdown (11-2) was in a galloping mood and the 4yo was produced late in the race under a well-judged ride by Denis Schwarz, to sail into the lead and then held off a determined late move by Gavin Smith’s 14-1 The Winter Lake under Muzi Yeni.

At the line a neck separated the top two, with the winner clocking a time of 68,18 secs.

Cliff Top (8-1) ran up the outside and led the charge for a long way, before staying on commendably into third, a further 1,50 lengths back.

Woodhill Racing assistant Kuyan Kotzen made the long trip up the Garden Route from Paarl, and could have been the lucky charm for the change of fortune.

A R200 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, Countdown was bred by Varsfontein Stud and is a son of champion Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of the one-time winning Philanthropist mare, Imperadora.

A winner of 5 races with 7 places from 24 starts, Countdown has now earned R642 250.

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