A Rocket Of A Classic Shake Up!

First stakes winner for Alado

The Cape classic landscape was shaken by a tremor that lasted just over a minute and a half at Kenilworth on Saturday.

And the shock Selangor Cup result could well see Mike de Kock rubbing his hands in the exciting anticipation of unleashing a member or two of his current crop of big guns on the Cape Guineas.

Chase Liebenberg Photography

Aldo Domeyer gets Rocket Countdown to the front as Greg Cheyne and White River chase hard. Bernard Fayd’herbe (in yellow) gets Do It Again to show interest late down the rail (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

With some dented reputations and shattered aspirations trailing in his wake, the Alado gelding Rocket Countdown stormed home at 40-1 to grab the honours in the R400 000 Gr2 Selangor Cup, and in the process threw the classic picture wide open.

Just when we all thought the likely Cape Guineas line-up was looking clearer, along comes a right hook from left field, courtesy of the Candice Bass-Robinson team.

Chase Liebenberg Photography

The Aldo Domeyer body language says it all (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

The blonde Milnerton conditioner’s last celebration in this traditional Guineas indicator dates all the way back to 2010, when her famous Dad saddled present day Drakenstein stallion What A Winter to a memorable victory.

Fast forward to 2017, the lightly tried Rocket Countdown continued his post maiden victory march – and buried a few big names in the process. And after South Africa’s highest rated 3yo Sand And Sea bombed in a Progress Plate earlier on in the afternoon, it was to amount to a day that saw the equine ‘futures market’ correct itself in many minds!

In the field of twelve that included a Gr1 winner and a Gr1 runner-up, a Gr2 placed highly regarded colt, an unbeaten Gauteng visitor and a recent Cape Classic runner-up, the MR 86-rated Rocket Countdown’s recent Durbanville post-maiden win hardly looked to have the makings of a Selangor star – never mind a Guineas winner this term.

Aldo and the Alado (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

But on a day where we really couldn’t blame the weather or the going, the son of Alado arrived to suggest he may yet be a force to be reckoned with.

The conditions race saw Gr1 winner Eyes Wide Open carry 2kgs more than the rest at level weights

After outsider Steel Rose had done the donkey work with Sniper Shot and Woljayrine, Undercover Agent came forward to challenge the handsome Broadway Trip at the 300m. All the while, Rocket Countdown, who had one behind turning for home, could be seen making good ground down the inside and he went on strongly as the similarly unheralded White River took off at the 200m.

With Greg Cheyne keeping an eye on the leaders on the outside, White River accelerated with such momentum that he ran into the jet stream of Rocket Countdown and had to be switched marginally late.

But Rocket Countdown proved strongest and he stormed through late to hold off the eyecatching challenge of White River by a half length in a time of 96,39 secs.

The previously unbeaten-in-two Do It Again stayed on well for third, suggesting some Derby potential, with another  unbeaten horse in Gauteng raider Broadway Trip beaten into fourth.

Chase Liebenberg Photography

This shot a few meters after the post sums up the thrill of the win (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Cape Classic runner-up Undercover Agent had no answers late in fifth, while Sean Tarry boom horse Captain And Master never showed and ran 2,75 lengths off in sixth.

Vaughan Marshall’s Gr3 Godolphin Barb winner Woljayrine had every chance but ran out of puff to finish seventh and 3,50 lengths off.

Further downfield, last season’s exciting 2yo Ancestry was always under a driving ride and finished just ahead of topweighted Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes winner Eyes Wide Open.

KZN raider Sniper Shot was comprehensively outclassed and ran a poor last.

Chase Liebenberg Photography

Aldo Domeyer in the winner’s enclosure (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Bred by Oldlands Stud, Rocket Countdown is a first stakes winner for Hemel ‘N Aarde stallion Alado (Danzig) and is out of the four-time winning sprinter, Shinkanzen (Cordoba).

He was purchased by Mike Bass off the 2016 CTS March Yearling Sale for R120 000.

Rocket Countdown has won 3 races with 3 places from his 6 starts for stakes of R382 000.

Time will tell how good he is – but with his R120 000 price tag he owes his connections nothing!


Gr2 Selangor Cup (SAf-Gr2)

Kenilworth, South Africa, November 18, R400k, 1600m, turf, good, 1.36.39

1 – ROCKET COUNTDOWN (SAF), 58.0, b g 3, Alado (GB) – Shinkanzen (SAF) by Cordoba (USA). Owner Messrs F C Blomkamp, T Govender, B Riley & Wehann Smith; Breeder Oldlands Stud; trainer C Bass-Robinson; jockey A Domeyer
2 – White River (SAF), 58.0, b c 3, Trippi (USA) – Irish Torrent (USA) by Giant’s Causeway (USA)
3 – Do It Again (SAF), 58.0, b g 3, Twice Over (GB) – Sweet Virginia (SAF) by Casey Tibbs (IRE)
Margins: 0.50, 0.40, 0.10


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