Bling Shines The Centenary Gold

Rathmor-bred Noble Tune gelding goes all the way

The 100th running of the R400 000 World Sports Betting Gr3 Gold Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday produced a gun to tape shocker when the largely unconsidered 40-1 shot Paths Of Victory maintained his momentum for every inch of the 3200m marathon.

While it has always been a shaky platform for favourites, the 2020 renewal of South Africa’s most prestigious staying race produced the biggest knockout in years, with a Quartet dividend of R703 395 illustrating the level of damage inflicted by the top three finishers, all starting at odds of 40’s and above.

S’manga ‘Bling’ Khumalo leads the field on Paths Of Glory (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Former SA Champion Jockey S’manga Khumalo, who won the race in 2016 on Enaad for Mike de Kock, produced the magic on the Noble Tune gelding as he demonstrated his fine pace judgement on a horse that was in a galloping mood.

“At the 400m, I crouched low – he was enjoying it and just wanted to go,” said the elated ‘Bling’, who has made a nice start to the new term, with a top four position on the national log as the sun sets on the opening month.

With the field bearing down and threatening down the home straight, but not really delivering, Paths Of Victory doggedly ground away to hold his advantage to the wire in a time of 207,88 secs.

Muzi Yeni produced Paybackthemoney (44-1) late, but he was 0,80 lengths in debit at the line.

The gallant mare Flichity By Farr (70-1) looked dangerous late, with Cape Derby winner of yesteryear Eyes Wide Open (9-1) arriving late to round off the record quartet.

The fancied It’s My Turn (3,55 lengths) and Marchingontogether (4,65 lengths) failed to reproduce their customary powerful finishes and ran downfield.

Trainer Gareth van Zyl, celebrating his first Gold Cup success, said that he always felt his jockey was ‘in the zone’.

“I got a good feeling from S’manga in the parade ring. And this plan goes back a year to the Gold Vase when Des Gonsalves said that this was our Gold Cup horse. This is the highlight in my relationship with owner Mario Ferreira and I’m thrilled,” said Van Zyl.

Bred by Rathmor Stud, the previously once stakes-placed winner is a son of Millstream Farm’s Unbridled’s Song sire Noble Tune out of Solkjaer’s one-time winner, Victory Garden, who was purchased specifically for this cross.

His dam has also produced multiple winners In Auro and Victory Trip, from the family of Spring Garland, SA export and American winner Mahubo, Imbongi, William Longsword and Victory Moon.

Paths Of Victory sold for R220 000 off the 2017 National Yearling Sale and has won 5 races with 7 places from 23 starts for stakes of R647 450.

The SA Champion Stayer title is up for grabs – it will be interesting to see how the  Equus panel – whoever they may be – vote after this result.

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