Kavanagh looked weighted to kill when he took on 15 fellow three-year-olds in the Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein on Saturday, and even a very wide draw couldn’t stop Mike de Kock’s colt from justifying his role as the well supported 22/10 favourite. Notoriously relegated to second place after winning a Gr 1 over 1450m at Clairwood in July before finishing less than one length second behind Gold Onyx in the highest grade at Greyville later the same month, Kavanagh now met Gold Onyx on 4 kgs better terms and also had lengths in hand over the rest of the field on merit ratings,. Impressive debut winner Galileo’s Galaxy was the 5/1 second favourite, with Shea Shea a well supported 11/2 chance despite being stuck in the widest gate of them all, writes Matthew Lips.
Kavanagh was inclined to race too keenly early on, but he was nevertheless able to get up into fourth spot from his 15 draw and was nicely positioned to make a move as Wildest Dream set a decent pace from Captain’s Key and Selborne Supremacy. Shea Shea was not very far away, but was trapped wide, while Galileo’s Galaxy was held up a few lengths of the action as Gold Onyx raced amongst the backmarkers. Captain’s Key wasted little time in making his move on Wildest Dream in the straight, but Kavanagh was prowling in menacing fashion just behind the leading line and came forward some 300m out to make his bid. Soon in front under Kevin Shea, the favourite kept going well to the line and won by 1.25 lengths from Galileo’s Galaxy, who was far from disgraced in only his second racecourse appearance. The son of Galileo never really looked like catching Kavanagh, but he was making consistent late headway and looks to be a nice prospect. Captain’s Key was less than a length behind Galileo’s Galaxy in third, with Selborne Supremacy another two lengths adrift in fourth. Gold Onyx made some late headway to finish in about midfield after dropping out to last, but was never in the hunt as such.
The obvious next target for Kavanagh would be the Gr 2 Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein later this month, although more than one pundit will fancy the chances of Galileo’s Galaxy reversing the form over the extra 200m. The point may however be moot, for Kavanagh’s participation in the Dingaans hangs in the balance after he was found to have been badly cut into behind during the Graham Beck Stakes. His trainer was less than pleased, noting that Kavanagh’s hind legs were “badly chopped up” and adding that which jockey was responsible, “should be shot.”
Named after the fictional TV lawyer played by the late John Thaw (of Inspector Morse fame), Kavanagh had created an instant impression when he won the Gr 2 SA Nursery on debut in May and is obviously a very smart colt. Whether he is truly as effective over a mile as over 1400m remains to be really established, but he had to do plenty of work early in the Graham Beck and was still able to see the race out well to the line. This was a smart display all things considered, even if on paper he stood out like a 100-storey skyscraper in Ladysmith. A colt from the first SA crop of former leading Florida sire Tiger Ridge, Kavanagh is out of the American-bred Seeking The Gold mare Quaestio. Although she only managed one win, Quaestio is the full sister to champion Argentine sire Mutakddim. Bred and owned by Mary Slack’s Wilgersbosdrift, Kavanagh has won two of his five starts and earned R662 500.
GRAHAM BECK S. (SAf-G3)
TURFFONTEIN, South Africa, November 6, $29,540, 3yo, 1,400mT (6.96fT), 1:25.23.
1st—=KAVANAGH (SAF), 119, B. c. 3, Tiger Ridge—Quaestio, by Seeking the Gold. Owner/Breeder—Wilgerbosdrift Stud (SAf); Trainer—Michael F. de Kock.
2nd—=GALILEO’S DESTINY (NZ), 116, B. c. 3, Galileo (Ire)—=Destined (GB), by Danehill.
3rd—=CAPTAIN’S KEY (SAF), 116, B. g. 3, =Captain Al (SAf)—=Qui’s Charm (SAf), by Qui Danzig.
Margins: 1 1/4, 3/4, 2.