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Avenue Of Gold wins Gr3 Racing Association Handicap

Pure Gold. Avenue Of Gold (Ray Danielson) stays on best to win the Gr3 Racing Association Handicap

The fairer sex dominated the finish of the R225 000 Gr3 Racing Association Handicap run over 3200m at Turffontein on Saturday. The ladies filled the first three positions with Weiho Marwing’s Avenue Of Gold staying on best of all at a shocking 40-1, to beat Heyouneverknow and a game Salutation.

We have often lamented the  probably  largely understandable lack of depth in the staying ranks in this country and this race underscored that sentiment with a result that rocked the exotic dividends. The Pick 6 climbed  to a dividend in excess of R1,7 million and the Place Accumulator soared  to a payout of over R66 000.

Leading racing journalist David Mollett perhaps summed up the situation best when he called the win by the Weiho Marwing –trained 4yo, ‘the final nail in the coffin.’

The race, quite similarly to the Durbanville Cup run over the same distance at Kenilworth last week, was a stop-start affair at times and after Kolkata had led early, Raymond Danielson said enough’s enough and  he took Avenue Of Gold up to lead from the 2200m marker from the favourite, with Yer-Maan and Atlantic Oak further back.

The mare Salutation was lobbing along in last place at that stage.

Robbie Fradd then decided at the 1200m marker that the pace was too slow and he took Mike De Kock’s Hawk’s Eye up to lead. But that was shortlived as Avenue Of Gold took over again as they came for home and despite challenges she maintained her momentum and in fact appeared to get stronger as the race progressed!

Venture looked dangerous down the outside as the well-backed The Who also started unwinding. Strydom had also gathered Corne Spies’ Heyouneverknow and she started staying on well.

But Avenue Of Gold was not going to lie down and she stayed on best to win by 1,50 lengths in a time of 208,68 secs.

Corne Spies’Brazillian-bred mare Heyouneverknow stayed on best for second, while Salutation got going too late and ran third.

Nice Ride. Raymond Danielson rode the winner

Owned by Steve Leahy, Avenue Of Gold was a third winner on the day for the Marwing stable and the elated smartly attired owner said he was a fan of the stallion Albert Hall and was very confident of a win when deciding to ‘take on the guys.’

Trainer Weiho Marwing  said that stayers often improved with maturity and he enjoyed training these type of horses.

Jockey Raymond Danielson labelled Avenue Of Gold a one–paced filly and said that he had decided to let her use her stride after one or two horses out front had eased up early on.

“I let her stride and just allowed her to build up from thereon,” said Danielson rather matter-of-factly in the post-race interview, where one would never have said that he’d just ridden two miles.

The biggest disappointment of the race was the Sean Tarry-trained Kolkata, who appeared to have every chance but faded out to finish a 31,50 length last.

Avenue Of Gold was a first Group race winner for Danehill stallion Albert Hall, who stands for a fee of R8000 at Klawervlei. His first stakes winner was the filly Deepo who won the Listed Lady’s Slipper Stakes over 1400m at Fairview in 2011.

Avenue Of Gold is out of the twice-winning Al Mufti mare, Circle Of Gold.

Bred by Ascot Stud, the R130 000 National Sale graduate recorded a third win from 17 starts. She has run 7 places and earned a total of R364 350.

But watch the staying race form with caution. These punting avenues are often not paved with gold at all.


Racing Association Hcp (SAf-G3) (12/1)

Turffontein, South Africa, December 1, R225.000, 3200m, turf, good, 3.28.68
(CR 3.20.71)

AVENUE OF GOLD (SAF), 53.0, b f 4, Albert Hall (GB) – Circle Of Gold (SAF)
by Al Mufti (USA). Owner SM Leahy; breeder Ascot Stud; trainer WH Marwing;
jockey R Danielson (R140.625)

Heyouneverknow (BRZ), 59.5, b m 5, Round Hill (BRZ) – Umakemebetter (BRZ) by
Bright Again (USA)

Salutation (SAF), 54.0, b m 6, Requiem (AUS) – Tribute (SAF) by Desert Team

Margins: 1½, ½, 1

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