Gauteng based owner-trainer and breeder St John Gray had plenty of cause to celebrate at Turffontein on Saturday.
His stallion Call To Combat marked his first stakes winner courtesy of a gutsy victory by Dawn Assault in the R150 000 Listed Drum Star Handicap.
More of a boutique sire for his gentleman breeder, Call To Combat has not covered many mares in his six seasons at stud, but his 4yo son Dawn Assault – still a colt – looks capable of going on to improve on his current record.
Raymond Danielson took the 1800m handicap by the scruff of the neck and had Pilou six lengths ahead of the pack turning into the home straight.
Muzi Yeni was the first to move as Fareeq drew alongside topweight Arctica at the 500m.
Anthony Delpech had the favourite Secret Captain relaxed in midfield and he made his move at the 400m as Dawn Assault accelerated.
With the pacemaker fading out, it was left to Secret Captain and Dawn Assault to slog things out.
As Secret Captain lugged out on to Dawn Assault and dragged him outwards, Marco van Rensburg kept his head and his mount proved the stronger, despite the interference.
Dawn Assault beat Secret Captain by 0,40 lengths in a time of 111, 65 secs.
The bridesmaid Secret Captain remains a two-time winner and a difficult horse to risk the rent money on. His record shows a maiden victory on debut and an administrative first in the Gr2 KZN Guineas, courtesy of the disqualification of Janoobi.
Kilrain produced a strong late run from some way off, but appeared to run on to Dawn Assault’s heels and finished a head away in third.
Dawn Assault was bred by Graystone Stud and is a son of Call To Combat (Announce) out of the two-time winner Cayman Ridge (Al Mufti)
He went through the ring at the 2015 KZN Yearling Sale but was bought back by Hadlow Stud.
Dawn Assault has won 5 races with 14 places from 31 starts for stakes of R512 925.
Call To Combat was trained and bred by St John Gray who stood him as a stallion for Graystone Stud at Hadlow Stud. Call To Combat has moved on to Cash Truter in Kroonstad.
Call To Combat achieved seven wins, with a peak victory in the 2011 Listed Wolf Power 1600. He ran fourth in the Listed Drum Star in 2010 behind Golden Chariot.