Valley Wins The Merchants

Dillon takes over and executes a polished ride

Jay Peg’s hardknocking 7yo son Silicone Valley scored a long overdue first feature success when he came from off the pace to win the R400 000 World Sports Betting Gr2 Cape Merchants at Kenilworth on Saturday.

(Pic - Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Donovan Dillon has Silicone Valley in full flight to beat Dutch Philip (obscured) and Always In Charge (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

A runner-up to Search Party in the same race last year, Silicone Valley built on his storming recent third behind Our Mate Art in the Matchem Stakes and took full advantage of a substantial swing in the weights to pick up the biggest cheque of his career in the first of the Cape Summer Season’s trio of sprints – the Diadem Stakes is next on 13 January and then the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship is the big one on Met day.

Being a handicap, the Merchants often dishes up a surprise result and the 2017 renewal looked particularly open – with Gr1 winner Always In Charge and last year’s winner Search Party at the top of the boards.

With Anthony Delpech medically indisposed, the Silicone Valley ride fell to Donovan Dillon and the young rider rode the perfect race on the 8-1 shot.

With the race initially run in two groups after Bishop’s Bounty lost many lengths at the jump, the outside bunch eventually joined forces with the inside stream at about the 700m marker. Dillon had Silicone Valley well back as Sergeant Hardy and Al Mariachi showed the way.

At the 350m Silicone Valley was switched out for his run with the 3yo Dutch Philip taking off at the same time – Lyle Hewitson opting to take the latter sneakily between runners.

(Pic - Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Post-race celebrations (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Despite Dutch Philip taking the shorter route, it was the Glen Puller-trained Silicone Valley who finished best and the 7yo stormed clear to win by three quarters of a length in a time of 71,63 secs.

Dutch Philip proved that the straight course is his forte and ran a cracker, with the tote favourite Always In Charge running a better race to get third.

The 8yo Tevez, a dual past winner of this race, gave signs that he is back to his better form after a disappointing last run to bank the R20 000 fourth cheque.

The Klawervlei Stud-bred Silicone Valley is a son of Jay Peg (Camden Park) out of the one-time winner Prize Collection (Model Man). Jay Peg interestingly campaigned in the same silks as runner-up, Dutch Philip.

A R150 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale purchase, Silicone Valley has won 6 races with 9 places from 20 starts and took his stakes earnings to R787 925.


Gr2 Cape Merchants (SAf-Gr2)

Kenilworth, South Africa, December 2, R400k, 1200m, turf, good, 1.11.63

1 – SILICONE VALLEY (SAF), 56.0, b g 7, Jay Peg (SAF) – Prize Collection (SAF) by Model Man (SAF). Owner Messrs C F Bester, F M Carruthers, P Fourie, G R Puller & Ian Robinson; Breeder Klawervlei Stud; trainer GR Puller; jockey D Dillon
2 – Dutch Philip (SAF), 52.0, b c 3, What A Winter (SAF) – Upity Ann (SAF) by Dominion Royale (GB)
3 – Always In Charge (SAF), 56.5, b c 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Polar Charge (GB) by Polar Falcon (USA)
Margins: 0.75, 1.00, 0.50

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