Showing no signs of an old tendon injury, the Corne Spies-trained Cape Rebel conquered local star Juan Two Three in a thrilling finish to the opening leg of the 2018 R600 000 East Cape Poly Challenge at Fairview on Monday.
Returning from a break of a year since winning the equivalent race, Juan Two Three looked to have the race in the bag at the 200m, but he had no answer for a vigorous Jarryd Penny on a keen as mustard, Cape Rebel.
Cape Rebel tracked Juan Two Three all the way around in the R110 000 East Cape Poly Challenge 1200 and just when the leader appeared to hold the ascendancy, Cape Rebel swept past to win by a half length in a time of 69, 62 secs.
Greg Cheyne rode for his life but Juan Two Three showed the effects of a lack of match fitness when shortening his stride late.
Jacques Strydom’s hardknocking mare Sao Paulo ran a solid third, just 2,25 lengths away.
Vaughan Marshall bought Cape Rebel for R150 000 at the 2014 CTS Lanzerac Ready To Run Sale.
He was initially trained by Vaughan and raced by Grant Knowles. Cape Rebel campaigns these days in the Justin Turner silks.
The Klawervlei Stud bred Cape Rebel is a son of Equus Champion Sprinter Rebel King (National Emblem) out of the two-time winning Faraway Galaxy (Fantastic Light).
This was his first score on the poly and he takes his win tally to 5 from 25 with 7 places for stakes of R305 250.
Cape Rebel is now in line to win the R250 000 challenge bonus.
The next leg is the R100 000 East Cape Poly Challenge 1400 to be run over 1400m on Friday 13 April.
The third leg is the R100 000 East Cape Poly Challenge 1600 to be contested over a mile on Friday 11 May.