Pick – A Bridge Or A Buffalo?

The race of the day!

Saturday’s R1 million Gr1 Champions Cup is the swansong appearance of Klawervlei sire prospect Undercover Agent who bids to go out on a winning note and give trainer Brett Crawford a third straight victory in the race.

Crawford’s record in this race is impressive. He also trained Jackson in 2013 and Futura to win in 2014. The latter registered the double in 2015, but by then he had moved on to Justin Snaith. If Undercover Agent wins on Saturday, Crawford would have won the race five times in the last seven renewals – with exacta’s the past two years.

Undercover Agent – last run (Pic – Gold Circle)

While he was runner-up and beaten two lengths by his now retired stablemate Captain America in 2018, Undercover Agent is undoubtedly at his most lethal from 1400m to a mile.

He has twice tried past the 1600m – when beaten by Captain America and then in the Sun Met, where he was beaten 2,20 lengths into fourth by Rainbow Bridge at level weights. He came out fresh after that Met effort to win the Drill Hall Stakes and was then probably run off his feet when carrying top weight and just over a length off Chimichuri Run in the Golden Horse Casino Sprint.

He had every chance in the Gold Challenge, where, defending his 2018 title, he plodded late to run 2,55 lengths behind the superior Do It Again – with Cirillo, Rainbow Bridge and Eyes Wide Open all in front of him.

Rainbow Bridge – this could be his chance to end the season in style (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

The Sporting Post top-rated Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge reunites with his original successful pilot Richard Fourie, who has enjoyed a royal season up here in KZN. With really smart placed efforts in the Drill Hall, the Gold Challenge and a second best in the July, this is the race that affords Rainbow Bridge the most likely opportunity to score what would be a deserved first away victory.

Super-fit, he now knows the track, has a top jockey in the irons and will be a popular choice.

Mike de Kock saddles a top-class coupling of Soqrat and Buffalo Bill Cody, and looks the most likely party crasher for the Eric Sands challenger.

Soqrat – tries 1800m (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

A serious 3yo miler, Horse Chestnut Stakes winner Soqrat gets the services of Anton Marcus as he goes beyond a mile for the first time.

He ran on strongly for fourth (2,40 lengths) behind July third-placer Twist Of Fate in the KRA Guineas and then pulled the same move when fourth again (1,80 lengths) off Do It Again in the Gold Challenge.

Either Soqrat doesn’t enjoy Hollywoodbets Greyville too much, or he was given two rather ordinary rides by regular pilot Randall Simons. Saturday should half answer that question as he tries 1800m for the first time.

The racecard is available here

His year older stablemate Buffalo Bill Cody finally gets a stab at a Gr1 trophy – and the son of Redoute’s Choice laid his claims with a hammering of Gold Challenge runner-up Cirillo last time out after a six months rest.

This is his first start at Hollywoodbets Greyville, but he comes with a massive reputation and the label of being ‘a machine’. We will find out how good he is on Saturday.

Buffalo Bill Cody – big test

Cirillo pulls the best draw and gets an opportunity to show he stays the 1800m. The son of July winner Pomodoro enjoys a 3kg turnaround at the weights after being beaten 3,25 lengths by Buffalo Bill Cody over a mile at Turffontein last time.

His Drill Hall Stakes and Gold Challenge efforts were top-class and Lyle Hewitson may ride him more conservatively.

His yard companion Matador Man ran third in this race in 2017 behind Sail South and Captain America but his recent attempts at the Gold Challenge and KZN Breeders Million suggest he will need to find more to challenge here.

Candice Dawson’s Infamous Fox has continued to surprise friend and foe and put in a really brave effort to win the Listed Engen Performance Stakes on July day with a brave run up an almost non-existent gap up the inside rail.

Regular man MJ Byleveld climbs aboard again and while not troubled by the trip, the Aussie-bred grey will find this a bit tougher.

Twist Of Fate – never say die! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Daily News runner-up Twist Of Fate put up the courageous performance of the Vodacom Durban July when somehow clinging on to third position behind Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge. He has more to do at the weights on Saturday, but will no doubt run his usual top-class game race.

Regarded by many to be the hard-luck story of the July when knocked off his stride by eventual winner Do It Again, Eyes Wide Open will be looking to improve on his third behind Captain America in this race last year – but has some finding to do at the weights with the likes of Rainbow Bridge.

Eyes Wide Open – no luck in July (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Cup Trial winner Kampala Campari is a dangerous front-runner but should struggle to assert at these weights.

All told, it looks like a straight duel between Rainbow Bridge and the exciting Buffalo Bill Cody. It could come down to luck in running- with a bit of nervousness around the possible myth of the second run after a rest monster in the case of Buffalo Bill Cody.

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