Former SA Derby winner Seal made the R350 000 Gr2 Mango Gold Vase run over 3000m at Greyville on Saturday, all his own with an impressive exhibition of staying prowess. Gavin Van Zyl’s son of Silvano also gave his Ladbrokes Gold Cup aspirations a timely boost.
We have often observed that our staying ranks are generally not of the highest quality, but we witnessed something rather promising here from a 4yo who was having his first start over a marathon trip of any consequence.
Fate may also just have dealt Seal’s connections the ace when he, together with stablemate Bulsara, was eliminated as a reserve runner from the Vodacom Durban July. Obliged to try the option of serious ground, trainer Gavin Van Zyl now finds himself with a serious Gold Cup contender.
Seal shed his maiden at his second start over 1200m, but had shown a serious appreciation for the 2450m when winning the SA Derby in grand fashion. He then subsequently pulled off a smart win in the Listed Wolf Power over a mile, but proved on Saturday that two miles will be more up his alley.
The Gold Vase was an interesting tactical race . The pack kept away from the inside track in running as St John Gray’s lightweighted Sarge filly Turkish Delight carted the field along early followed by Posh Boy, Seal, Storm Sagaz and a restless Kolkata, who was giving Piere Strydom something of a hard time early. At this stage the Mike De Kock gelding Ilsanpietro was stone last.
With the pace a little pedestrian, veteran jockey Karl Neisius made a decisive move and took In Writing up to take the lead at the mile marker. The Argentinian-bred chestnut lead and breathed gently from Posh Boy, Turkish Delight, Aslan, with a more settled Kolkata and Thanks John next.
The wily Jeff Lloyd then threw his two cents worth into the tactical pot, by speeding things up and taking Thanks John up to challenge In Writing at around the 800m marker. This was a move that was to fail for Lloyd, but which would ultimately cost In Writing the race.
Turning for home, Neisius sent the chestnut again and he continued to run strongly as Strydom gathered Kolkata wide outside for his run. At this point, Robbie Fradd was unleashing his challenge on Seal down the inside, and he ran on best to collar a luckless In Writing late. Kolkata finished his race in steady motion for third. The Requiem gelding may warrant a change of bit or some headgear before the Canon Gold Cup, to let him settle earlier.
The winner ran the 3000m in a time of 188,33 secs and held In Writing to 0,75 lengths. Kolkata, who had pulled hard in the early stages, was a further 2,50 lengths behind In Writing in third, while Ilsanpietro stayed on just behind him for fourth.
Corne Spies’ Brazillian filly Heyouneverknow was slow away but ran a cracker to stay on for fifth and only 4 lengths off the winner.
Karl Neisius almost burgled the race with an enterprising ride from the front as he dictated matters on In Writing, who still led inside the final 150m. Neisius will be less than charmed with Jeff Lloyd’s challenge for the lead at the 800m on the Bass-trained Thanks John, which effectively led to a throat-cutting session which used up valuable reserves of energy. Thanks John fell in a hole and finished second last.
The disappointments included Tarry’s 2011 Can Gold Cup winner Aslan, who finished third last and 11,05 lengths off the winner. He looks an unlikely contender for the Gold Cup on this performance.
Seal has generally been campaigned over shorter, but won this race in the manner of a seasoned stayer. He has won 5 races and registered 8 places from his 21 starts for career earnings of R1 478 587.
Bred by Veterinary Surgeon Dr Ian Heyns, Seal is by Silvano out of the unraced Rambo Dancer mare Prestine Performer. He went for R210 000 off the Golden Acres draft on the Sibaya Yearling Sale , where trainer Paul Lafferty was the underbidder. What’s in a name, they say?
Seal now comes into the Ladbrokes Gold Cup picture and the quality of the Super Saturday marathon has been enhanced by excellent trials put up by the Kannemeyer-trained Blake in the Schweppes 2200 run earlier (he is drawn 1) and then good performances by In Writing and Sean Tarry’s Kolkata here.
Mango Gold Vase (SAf-G2) (7/7)
Greyville, South Africa, July 7, R350.000, 3000m, turf, good, 3.08.33 (CR
SEAL (SAF), 59.5, b g 4, Silvano (GER) – Prestine Performer (SAF) by Rambo
Dancer. Owner Afrilek Drives; breeder I R Heyns (SAF); trainer G v Zyl;
jockey R Fradd (R218.750)
In Writing (ARG), 58.0, ch g 6, Editor’s Note – Inalay (ARG) by Candy
Kolkata (SAF), 54.5, b g 4, Requiem (AUS) – City Of Joy by Capitol South
Margins: ¾, 2½, ½
Also ran: Ilsanpietro (BRZ) 60.0, Heyouneverknow (BRZ) 55.5, Campo De
Santana (SAF) 53.0, Sun City (SAF) 55.5, Dolomite (SAF) 52.0, Storm Sagaz
(ARG) 53.0, Posh Boy (SAF) 53.5, Golden Parachute (NZ) 54.0, Aslan (SAF)
57.5, Thanks John (SAF) 55.5, Turkish Delight (SAF) 52.5