The pace proved the downfall of Tara Laing’s bighearted stayer Drill Sargeant in Friday’s R90 000 Lakeside Handicap run over 2400m at Fairview. In a sprint to the line, the son of Dynasty was outgunned by longshot Solo Flight, celebrating his half century of starts.
The absence of a genuine pacesetter in this non black type event may prove to be a lesson for the powerful stable, as it looked to be the only aspect of the race that could see Drill Sargeant’s colours lowered.
In the end it would have probably have paid dividends to have included a pacemaker and the result created havoc for Drill Sargeant’s supporters and the exotic bet faithful, who bankered him.
Drill Sargeant went off a 13 to 10 favourite and was going for a fourth straight win.
October Club led the field at a sedate gallop by four lengths from Cape Town, Ice Flag and Solo Flight, with Drill Sargeant loping along in midfield.
The order remained intact for much of the journey as Cape Town moved inside of October Club as they spun for home.
Solo Flight moved through at the 400m marker and outsprinted Drill Sargeant, who changed legs and kicked well, to win by a length in a time of 152,73 secs.The fast finishing Ice Flag ran third.
Andrew Nienaber rode the winner, and is a balanced jockey who gets very few chances.
Jacques Strydom’s other runner, the 9yo Key Castle looked dangerous late in the race, and finished a fair fifth.
Solo Flight started at 22 to 1 and was bred by Patricia Devine. He is by Jet Master out of the three time winning Qui Danzig mare, Rollicking Romp.
He used to race in his Cape Town days in the familiar red Jet Master silks and the former Mike Bass trained gelding has won 5 of his 50 starts, with 12 places.
He took his earnings to R315 097.
The form of this race should be applied with a measure of caution, and we have no doubt that the gallant Drill Sargeant will redeem himself in the near future.