While the Vodacom Durban July draw may not have gone according to plan, top trainer Joey Ramsden enjoyed a welcome change of fortune with his well-travelled Morning Catch showing superior fitness under an inspired Marco van Rensburg to win the KZN Breeders Million Mile at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.
Ramsden has reinvented his operational policies in recent years and Morning Catch (20-1) came into this race out of his successful Gauteng satellite yard and following an eight week break.
The non black-type feature is restricted to KwaZulu-Natal bred 3-year-olds and older, registered as KwaZulu-Natal bred in terms of the Gold Circle Racing and Gaming Group Thoroughbred Breeder, Stallion and Owner Premium scheme.
The race was framed at weight-for-age plus penalties, with the 89-rated Morning Catch lumbering 58kgs – and thus having it all to do on paper against some of his more illustrious opponents.
But Marco van Rensburg rode a confident race, taking Morning Catch up to lead early at a modest gallop from recent Gr1 placer Unagi, with Forthelastime loping along in third.
Turning for home, Anton Marcus powered Unagi up and the Gauteng-based 5yo went past Morning Catch, as Keagan de Melo set the Dean Kannemeyer-trained 3yo The Sultans Bazaar alight from near the rear.
With Morning Catch coming right back to head the fading Unagi, The Sultans Bazaar came with a sustained effort.
At the line, a photo was needed to split the duo, with Morning Catch gaining the verdict by a nose in a time of 97,74 secs.
Recent Post Merchants runner-up Wynkelder came out of the pack late to grab third a further 0,90 lengths back.
Sean Tarry’s topweighted Africa Rising ran fourth.
After a typically slow start, his more fancied stablemate Matador Man had nothing to come in the straight and ran eighth and 4,20 lengths back. He was reported to have pulled up lame.
Bred by Vanashree and Anant Singh, Morning Catch was a first ever winner for his ill-fated Summerhill sire, Await The Dawn, when he won on debut as a 2yo. He was originally part owned by Mayfair Speculators.
The winner is out of the one-time winner Catch The Wind (Jet Master) – a three parts sister to Gr1 Mercury Sprint winner, Fly By Night, from the family of top sprinter, The Eliminator.
Morning Catch sold for R200 000 off the 2016 CTS Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale and took his earnings to R905 650 with his fourth win and eight places from sixteen starts.