The Gaul Of It!

Vercingetorix wins R600 000 Gr2 KRA Guineas

Close! Vercingetorix keeps at it to beat Capetown Noir (obscured)

Close! Vercingetorix keeps at it to beat Capetown Noir (obscured)

We have used every cliché in the book to try and fathom this game out. Capetown Noir’s shock defeat in Saturday’s R600 000 Gr2 KRA Guineas was one of those defining moments that reminded all of us that absolutely nothing is cast in stone. But hey, best of luck to Mike De Kock. He has a very nice 3yo on his hands in Vercingetorix.

We had just gotten our heads around the ‘noir’ in the Cape champion’s name and again we learn something new. Apparently Vercingetorix was the chieftain of the  Arverni tribe, who united the Gauls in a revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

That is edifying and most interesting indeed, but where on earth was the Silvano colt flying before he turned up in this Gr2?

Way under the radar obviously, and he even caught the Charity Turf Challenge organisers napping as his name is not on the list of their top 3yo’s of choice for the game. The competition launched on Saturday.

Vercingetorix came into this event as one of the unknowns and also just one of the nine horses that were expected to watch Cape Town Noir’s rear hightailing it down the Greyville straight.

But a fit and talented horse coupled with a determined ride by Avontuur sponsored Anthony Delpech derailed most exotic  punter’s dreams as he pipped the Cape champion by a proverbial whisker.

Capetown Noir and Vercingetorix raced alongside each other as No Worries led The King And I, with King Of Torts and Gitiano further back.

Into the straight there were many in with chances as Capetown Noir ghosted through down the inside.

Vercingetorix moved across from the outside as Capetown Noir got the squeeze of the reins and shifted his ground at the same moment to the outside. The two came together and touched at the 200m marker and while Vercingetorix appeared to be going the better, Capetown Noir found another gear at the 100m marker and came right back. He was denied by a cruel timing of strides.

Vercingetorix won by a short head in a time of 94,65 secs

There were those in certain quarters who were baying for Neisius’ blood after the race.

But the Cape veteran knows his mount well and did everything right as far as we could ascertain. He was just beaten by a better 3yo on the day. And we didn’t know such an animal existed till after the race.

Winning  jockey Anthony Delpech, who rode the Silvano colt in a race for the first time, said that Vercingetorix didn’t show much in his work.

“But he feels like a racehorse and  good horses win races like this!” he said.

Trainer Mike De Kock conceded afterwards that his instructions were that he would be happy to run 3rd or 4th. “ I didn’t feel he was ready to beat Capetown Noir, but he proved us wrong. He will be entered for the July now and we will see where we go from here. This win is particularly pleasing as Jehan Malherbe and I only bought one horse on that particular sale,” he said.

De Kock was referring to last year’s National Yearling Sale where he had gone to R1,4 million for the handsome specimen.

Vercingetorix maintained an unblemished formline with three wins from his three starts. He had previously won a maiden in Johannesburg and his graduation over Saturday’s course and distance.

He took his earnings to R472 500.

He was bred by Klawervlei Stud by Silvano out of the five time winning National Assembly mare, National Vixen, who raced for Mike Stewart in her racing days.

Capetown Noir was desperately unlucky to lose a race we all thought he’d win easily. Don’t write him off yet. And we at least have a return match to look forward to now.

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