Gr1 Gold Medallion: Delago Deluxe unbeaten

Delago Deluxe

Delago Deluxe

Unbeaten Delago Deluxe left no doubt whatsoever about who currently heads the two-year-old males class when running out the easy winner of the Tsogo Sun Maverick Million over 1200m at Scottsville on Saturday.

Delago Deluxe only had a neck to spare over Midnight Serenade when he captured the Gr 2 SA Nursery over 1160m at Turffontein four weeks earlier, but his backers didn’t want to know about the possibility of defeat and he went off as the 13/20 favourite in a field of ten for the Medallion.  Midnight Serenade was back for another crack at his highly talented rival and was the 5/1 second choice ahead of unbeaten Hard Rock, who went off as the 11/2 third favourite after narrowly winning a Gr 3 over 1000m at Clairwood in the more recent of his two appearances.

Delago Deluxe was always very prominent from the start as his stable companion Tennessee Strategy cut out the early running, with Carlito Brigante also showing plenty of speed.  Midnight Serenade was right in the slipstream of the leaders, with Hard Rock racing from off the pace.  Carlito Brigante folded tamely inside the last 400m, but Tennessee Strategy continued blazing a trail even as Delago Deluxe began to range up alongside.  It was soon obvious which of the two was going to come out on top, though.  Despite a tendency to wander left off a straight line, Delago Deluxe had the measure of Tennessee Strategy coming inside the final 200m and ran on well under Anton Marcus to beat his fellow Australian-bred import by 2.25 lengths in a memorable finish for the Charles Laird stable.

Midnight Serenade didn’t have a great deal to come in the closing stages, appearing to not quite see out this stiff 1200m, and finishing a further 2.25 lengths behind the runner-up in third.   Storm Bringer was half-a-length further away in fourth, with Hard Rock never a factor before finishing just more than five lengths behind the winner in fifth place.  In truth very few ever got into this with a chance once the race got serious and Delago Deluxe was simply a cut above them all.

“Believe it or not, it wasn’t our intention to go for this race,” noted Anton Marcus in his post race interview.  That echoed the sentiments of Princess Victoria’s connections after the earlier Allan Robertson Championship, and changing plans on the fly proved to be the winning formula on Saturday.  Delago Deluxe’s trainer noted that he now believes his undefeated colt is looking for a bit further than 1200m, which was probably a key reason for the earlier reluctance to try him in the Medallion, and certainly Delago Deluxe ran on all the way to the line in the manner of a horse who seems likely to stay at least another 200m.  Laird was also thrilled with the performance of Tennessee Strategy, who had faded to finish a well beaten seventh in the SA Nursery last time out but who according to his trainer “should not have run in that race after being kicked in the gates.”

This latest in an ever-growing line of Gr 1 victories didn’t come cheap for Delago Deluxe’s owners Ingrid and Markus Jooste.  It took a hefty Aus $550 000 to acquire the colt at the 2010 Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale, but he has rewarded them with four wins from as many starts, three of them at Graded level.  One is probably already looking at a future stallion in this son of dual Australian champion sire Encosta De Lago.  Delago Deluxe is the second foal of Flying Spur mare Succeeding, who won three races over 1400m and who is the half sister to two Grade 1 winners (plus a Gr 2 winner for good measure) in Australia.   Delago Deluxe has earned stakes of R793 750.


Gold Medallion (SAf-G1) (5/28)
Scottsville, South Africa, May 28, R500.000, 1200m, turf, good, 1.09.43 (CR 1.07.00).
1 – DELAGO DELUXE (AUS), 58.0, b c 2, Encosta De Lago (AUS) – Succeeding (AUS) by Flying Spur (AUS). Owner Mrs I and Mr M J Jooste; breeder Mr G Harvey (AUS); trainer C S Laird; jockey A Marcus (R331.522)
2 – Tennessee Strategy (AUS), 58.0, b c 2, Stratum (AUS) – Tennessee Red (AUS) by Red Ransom
3 – Midnight Serenade (SAF), 58.0, b g 2, Malhub – Sapphire Serenade (SAF) by Harry Hotspur (SAF)
Margins: 2¼, 2¼, ½
Also ran: Storm Bringer (SAF) 58.0, Hard Rock (SAF) 58.0, Fighting Warrior (AUS) 58.0, Liquid Motion (SAF) 58.0, Soweto Slew (AUS) 58.0, Carlito Brigante (SAF) 58.0, Jungle Ruler (SAF) 58.0

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