Usually a good pointer for the future, some top class colts have won the Gr1 Gold Medallion in recent years. This season’s Gauteng Guineas winner Link Man won this race last year and amongst the ten going to post this time around there are a few who look capable of following in his footsteps, writes Steve Furnish.
The likely favourite is the Charles Laird trained Delago Deluxe. Unbeaten in three starts, this son of Encosta De Lago has been going from strength to strength since cruising in by five on debut. He impressed when slamming his eleven rivals by three and a quarter in the Gr3 Protea Stakes in just his second career start and then showed real guts and determination when beating Midnight Serenade after being headed in the Gauteng Nursery over 1160m in soft going last time out. He can only improve and should fight it out.
As well as Delago De Deluxe, trainer Charles Laird is also represented by Tennessee Strategy. He also won well on debut and on a line through the third horse Astro News, when he finished a runner up to Right Beauty in his penultimate start, there isn’t too much between him and Delago Deluxe. The booking of jockey’s log leader Anthony Delpech would also suggest that he has been showing up well at home. Tennessee Strategy had excuses having been cut into in the Nursery. Expect improvement.
Prior to be reported as lame on the off fore when finishing down field in the Protea Stakes last time out, Paul Peter’s charge had been progressing very nicely. He won his first two starts in good style and was then only beaten a length and a quarter by the Protea Stakes runner up Midnight Serenade after stumbling shortly after the jump in the Storm Bird Stakes. He can improve if all is now well and with the talented Bernard Fayd’herbe now in the saddle he is sure to be given every assistance.
At first glance, Ivan Moore’s charge would look to have little chance having been well beaten by others in this race in each of his first two starts. He has shown good improvement with each outing though and he did win going away after racing towards the rear when shedding his maiden tag over 1300m at Greyville last time out.
One of just two unbeaten runners in the field, Deon Visser’s charge was freely available at 66/1 when easily accounting for what has turned out to be a decent field over 1200m at Clairwood on debut. His only subsequent start came in the Gr3 Godolphin Barb Stakes over 1000m where ridden by Anton Marcus, he ran on strongly late to get the better of the useful Western Cape raider Soweto Slew. Hard Rock could well have found that 1000m trip a bit sharp and looks sure to improve further now back over 1200m.
Trainer Deon Visser is also represented by the Stage Call gelding Liquid Motion. He ran on best of all when beating Lord Hawke in his second start and was far from disgraced when only beaten 2,8 lengths by Silver Age in the Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes last time out. Liquid Motion has shown good improvement with each outing and should be thereabouts.
Joey Ramsden’s charge ran on very nicely from off the pace when beating the subsequent winner Second Tycoon on debut and on the strength of that effort was fancied to run a big race in the Godolphin Barb. He was beaten fair and square in that event, and on that effort does look held. As with a number of the runners here though, Jungle Ruler could well have found that 1000m trip a bit sharp and the manner in which he won his first outing would suggest that big improvement will be forthcoming now that he has further to travel.
A fluent winner of the listed Storm Bird Stakes in just his second career outing, Midnight Serenade then contested the Gr3 Protea Stakes where after making the running, he was comfortably beaten by the talented Delago Deluxe. On our ratings though, Midnight Serenade ran below par that day and when they met again just four weeks later in the Gauteng Nursery over 1160m there was only a neck between them. Usually one to race up with the speed, Midnight Serenade is sure to be right there when the race begins in earnest. Another titanic battle could well be forthcoming
Justin Snaith’s charge arrived in Natal on the back of some very strong form. Indeed, as well as winning two of his four outings, he had finished a runner up in the prestigious Juvenile Stakes on Met Day. He contested the Godolphin Barb Stakes in his first start in Natal where after racing handy, he was only picked off in the dying strides by Hard Rock. He was racing over today’s distance for the first time when comfortably beaten by another of today’s runners Storm Bringer in the Gr2 Umkhomazi Stakes in his only subsequent start and having raced handy, that could suggest that he is better over 1000m.
The Mogok gelding Silver Age has shown big improvement with each outing in our book and he ran a cracker when only picked off late by Silver Age over today’s course and distance in the Umkhomazi Stakes last time out. Taking into account the fact that Storm Bringer was reported as changing legs in that latest outing, he could still improve plenty. What is interesting here though is that Anthony Delpech, who rode him in his penultimate start, and doesn’t have a ride for his own stable here, is partnering another.
About The Pace
With most of these youngsters preferring to race up with or close to the speed, a good pace looks assured. 2yo’s are capable of making enormous improvement at this stage of the season and that makes this race much more open than it might appear. The unbeaten Delago Deluxe has done nothing wrong and he does look to have more to come. He gets the vote.