Grand Celebration

Gr1 Cape Guineas at Kenilworth last Saturday

 

Elusive Gold

A Grand Guineas! Bernard Fayd’herbe gets Elusive Gold up to beat his stablemate Captain America in a thrilling finish to the big Cape 3yo classic

The R1 million Grand Parade Gr1 Cape Guineas produced the fireworks and thrills to bring the curtain down on the classic programme for the year. While the tempo of the racing drops a notch or three this week as the sun sets on 2013’s mixed memories and broken resolutions, trainer Brett Crawford will be looking back with satisfaction on a Super Saturday that will go down as a highlight in his career.

A high quality crop of 3yo’s, most of whom we will still hear plenty about in time to come, went to war at Kenilworth as the Southeasterly wind swept the world and played havoc with hairdo’s, hats and short dresses. But most importantly too with race tactics.

Dream

Some will say that Crawford celebrated with a measure of mixed emotion, after his boom colt Captain America was nabbed in the shadow of the post in a dramatic race. But that is plain crazy. It is, after all, every trainer’s dream to win the Cape Guineas. And Brett enjoyed the rare distinction of unsaddling the top two finishers in a race that had all the hallmarks of everything that is great about racing at the highest level.

A thrilling late run from a seemingly impossible pos-ition under a vintage Bernard Fayd’herbe ride saw the magnificent Ascot Stud bred son of Sail From Seattle, Elusive Gold, bury the dreams of Captain America’s legion of passionate supporters, and particularly his biggest fans, owners Delma Sherrell, Diane Nagel and Adam Gurney.

Champagne

On the flipside of the coin, for breeder Ashley Parker of Ascot Stud, who stands the winner’s sire and the owner’s representative, Hong Kong based Tony Millard, it was a moment of great joy and celebration. In the end, summer course or not, the barrier draw counted too.

Elusive Gold came in on a rather modest rating of 79. He was thus probably fortunate to get into the race. In a busier, more oversubscribed year, he may have found himself out in the cold. That’s in the nature of luck and love that somehow favours the good horses. Elusive Gold is owned by overseas interests, and his brilliance will in all likelihood be lost to South African racing in the short term.

Great Advert

But he will prove an invaluable mobile billboard for our industry, his sire Sail From Seattle, and Bloodstock South Africa, on whose 2012 National Yearling Sale he was shrewdly bought for R425 000.

Captain Al’s Varsfontein Stud bred Captain America ran a gallant second. His catchy name, charisma, raw ability and impeccable form made him many punter’s popular choice to win. After being hampered and losing a shoe in the running, his short head defeat must have been agony in slow motion for his connections.

Courageous

And what of Red Ray? Joey Ramsden had the beautifully handsome son of Western Winter looking a million dollars and while there was plenty of speculation and much armchair advice doing the rounds prior to the jump, when that 11 stall gate opened there was not much else that Anton Marcus could do.

He was boldly manoeuvred into an attacking position and dropped the bit after 600m. Some will say that he had every chance as he went for the kill at the 300m marker. His early exertions told though when it counted, and he was run out of it into third and under a length off two of the top colts we’ve seen for many a year. It was a great effort in the circumstances. Don’t discount Red Ray.

Forest Of Dreams

Alec Laird’s Forest Indigo was another to face the draw bogey. The only Gr1 winner in a star studded line up, he was also found lacking a killer kick late and ran on quietly into fourth. It was a low key year for Dean Kannemeyer, who has won 7 of the last 10 runnings of this prestigious classic.

He sent three runners to post, and both Power King and Roman Manner were not disgraced when running on late together from wide draws to finish fifth and sixth respectively, and under two lengths off the winner. A grand parade of top horses on a grand day for racing. A superb way to say goodbye to 2013.

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