Michael Roberts – First KZN Trainer To Win Cape Derby Since 2000

Charles Dickens comes up for air late

In a fairytale finish to the R1,5 million SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby, veteran champion jockey Piere Strydom produced the magic for another wizard of the saddle in former champion jockey Michael Roberts, to give the now Summerveld trainer his maiden Gr1 success.

Michael Roberts became the first KZN trainer since Dennis Drier who saddled The Sheik in 2000 to win the historic classic.

On the day, local star Charles Dickens was beaten fair and square and he may just be at his best over a mile at this stage.

Who would have thought that Michael Roberts and Piere Strydom would team up to deliver a 50-1 Gr1 winner?

Piere Strydom and Michael Roberts – teaching the youngsters how to win Gr1’s! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

A multiple SA and British Champion of his time, Muis Roberts rode Comareen to win the Cape Derby in 1994, but labelled his joy at cracking the Gr1 ice from the other side of the rails on Saturday, as índescribable’.

With retirement looming, 56 year old Piere Strydom could also not have dreamt of a better Cape summer swansong and rode a beautifully judged race on the Drakenstein-bred winner, who was given a chance after the Justin Snaith army turned the classic into a genuine test of stamina.

Into the 350m marker Charles Dickens, who had been cruising in midfield, moved up with his long stride signalling fireworks. But at the 200m, he appeared to come under pressure and Strydom was picking them off as See It Again began unwinding.

“He was racing in a beautiful rhythm around the turn and Piere Strydom timed it to the moment,”added Michael Roberts.

Piere Strydom drives See It Again to beat Charles Dickens (Aldo Domeyer) in a thriller (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

At the line, See It Again (50-1) had built up a going away lead of 1,25 lengths over Charles Dickens (3-10) with the top finishing Snaith challenger Without Question (50-1) in third, a further 1,25 lengths back.

The winner clocked 123,55 secs for the 2000m.

In what is probably his last ride in the classic, it was Piere Strydom’s first Cape Derby winner since It’s My Turn in 2016.

Michael Roberts paid tribute to Milnerton trainer Paddy Kruyer who looked after See It Again for the summer after being recommended years ago by legend Terrance Millard.

Raced by KZN-based Nic Jonsson, who had a record six horses in the Gr1 contest, See It Again is a three-parts brother to dual Durban July winner Do It Again. He is a son of Twice Over (Observatory) out of the twice winning Visionaire mare,  Supreme Vision.

Bred by Drakenstein Stud See It Again is a R120 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale and has now won 3 of his 6 starts with 2 places for stakes of R1 028 125.

Watch the replay here:

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