Post Merchants Hcp: Making A Splash

Splash Gold - showing a nice turn of foot from off the pace

Showing a nice turn of foot from off the pace, Splash Gold ran out a fluent winner of the Post Merchants (handicap) over 1200m at Greyville on Friday evening.  This was the three-year-old’s first Black Type success and it confirmed his status as one of the most promising young sprinters around, writes MATTHEW LIPS.

A field of 14 turned out for what has been the central Durban track’s premier sprint race for as long as anybody can remember.  Captain’s Secret had finished a close second from as many outings in KZN this winter, one of them in the Gr 2 Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville in May, and was well supported to start as the 33/10 favourite in an open looking contest.  Much improved Winking Jack had finished ahead of several of this field when fourth in the Gr 1 Golden Horse Sprint at Scottsville three weeks earlier and started as the 4/1 second favourite.  Rebel Knight found plenty of support to go off as a 9/2 chance from an ante-post call of 7’s, but Splash Gold was allowed to ease from an opening price of 5/1 to start as a 15/2 chance behind 7/1 hopeful Casey Cool, who was bidding to win this event for a second year in succession.

Gaultier was quickly away and set a good pace from Jet Command and Winking Jack, with Captain’s Secret and top weight Rabattache next in line.  Rebel Knight and Splash Gold were some way off the initial action, with Casey Cool amongst the backmarkers after being a little slow into stride.  Winking Jack had every chance to land the spoils and looked a possible winner when tackling Gaultier around 200m from home, but Splash Gold – who’d been rather unfavourably drawn at 11 – was starting a big move wider out, with Rebel Knight also starting to make good progress.  Winking Jack was as game as ever and led briefly, but he couldn’t match the finishing speed of Splash Gold, a horse half his age, and it was the latter was ran on well under Karl Neisius to win by 1.25 lengths.

Rebel Knight was still running on strongly at the line and came out second best, relegating Winking Jack to third place by three-quarters of a length, with Gaultier only a shot head away in fourth.  The latter stable’s companion Captain’s Secret had every chance before finishing fifth, just more than two lengths behind the winner, but Casey Cool was never seen with a chance of recording a Post Merchants double and was beaten 4.80 lengths into ninth spot.  Mike’s Choice made good headway to finish sixth, 2.15 lengths behind Splash Gold.

Splash Gold had finished 2.5 lengths behind Winking Jack in the Golden Horse Sprint and was actually slightly worse off with the latter this time, but the Merchants winner clearly enjoys Greyville and is now unbeaten from two starts there after winning a minor Feature handicap over 1000m on his KZN debut in May.  He has also won twice around Durbanville, so turning courses obviously suit him very well, but it may be a return to racing down the straight for him next as the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint at Clairwood in July is the biggest remaining event for speed horses on the KZN roster.  That would herald a possible clash on WFA terms with Val De Ra and What A Winter, if the latter has recovered from the problem which saw him scratched from a race at the postponed Clairwood meeting on the Monday before the Post Merchants, but there is not much else of substance to aim for with Splash Gold unless connections opt to put him on the shelf until the Cape season later in the year.

Splash Gold is trained by Dean Kannemeyer and is a son of veteran Mr Prospector stallion Goldkeeper.  He is the seventh foal and sixth winner produced from Complete Warrior mare Splash Of Water, who won two races over 1000m and who is also the dam of Gr 2 placed sprinter Renegade.  There is no shortage of good class sprinters in this pedigree and Splash Gold is almost certainly at his best over the short cuts, having finished only ninth when stretched to 1600m in the Gr 2 Selangor Cup last November.  He has a sprinter’s conformation, and while he may yet get a little further than 1200m he does display all the hallmarks of a horse who is at his most effective over the short routes.

Splash Gold was bred by Raymond Koopstad and was acquired for R150 000 at the 2009 Equimark Vintage yearling sale.  He has won seven times from 12 starts, for stakes of R550 705.

Post Merchants (SAf-G2) (6/17)
Greyville, South Africa, June 17, R300.000, 1200m, turf, good, 1.10.34 (CR 1.09.10).
SPLASH GOLD (SAF), 59.0, ch g 3, Goldkeeper – Splash Of Water (SAF) by Complete Warrior. Owner R W Deacon, D J Benzien & P D Deacon & N P Malherbe; breeder R Koopstad (SAF); trainer D Kannemeyer; jockey K Neisius (R198.913)
Rebel Knight (SAF), 59.0, b g 4, Jet Master (SAF) – Darby Game (SAF) by Elliodor (FR)
Winking Jack (SAF), 57.0. ch g 6, Super Magic (SAF)- Miss O’Hagen (SAF) by Mount Hagen
Margins: 1¼, ¾, nose
Also ran: Gaultier (SAF) 58.5, Captain’s Secret (SAF) 59.5, Mike’s Choice (SAF) 54.0, Shades Of Indigo (SAF) 56.0, Bush Pirate (SAF) 58.0, Casey Cool (SAF) 59.5, Copper Parade (SAF) 57.5, Cool Spender (SAF) 53.5, Rabattache (SAF) 60.0, Maliyakhe (SAF) 55.0, Jet Command (SAF) 55.0

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