Sail South head of the class


BRETT Craw­ford landed his sixth Grade 1 win of the sea­son on Sat­ur­day, the first day of the Gold Cup Fes­ti­val Of Rac­ing at Greyville, when Sail South won the Cham­pi­ons Cup over 1 800m un­der Richard Fourie.

Na­tional Cham­pion trainer Sean Tarry has landed seven Grade 1s this sea­son, but has had only four in­di­vid­ual Grade 1 win­ners, while Craw­ford has had five in­di­vid­ual Grade 1 win­ners, Edict Of Nantes, who won two Grade 1s, Whisky Baron, Cap­tain Amer­ica, Lady Of The House and Sail South. Mike de Kock has had five Grade 1 win­ners cour­tesy of five in­di­vid­ual Grade 1 win­ners.

Sail South, a six-year-old geld­ing, be­came his late sire Sail From Seat­tle's third Grade 1 win­ner and re­mark­ably the other two, Elu­sive Gold and Gulf Storm, were also trained by Craw­ford.

Sail South has al­ways had a lot of class, but has had a ten­dency to over race.

The key to his vic­tory on Sat­ur­day was the good pace of the race set by his sta­bale­mate Cap­tain Amer­ica.

Cap­tain Amer­ica jumped quite well, but was mo­men­tar­ily squeezed be­tween Be­laBela and Marinaresco, hav­ing jumped from the sec­ond widest draw of all in the ten horse field.

He found him­self out wide as they reached the first turn.

Mean­while, Sail South, who had jumped from draw seven, had gone around them and was in the lead quite soon into the turn.

How­ever, he then be­gan over rac­ing a touch as he waited for Cap­tain Amer­ica to slot in front of him.

Once Cap­tain Amer­ica had found the rail he was given a breather, but then be­gan stretch­ing out with his big stride.

The fast frac­tions suited Sail South down to the ground as he was also able to use his stride. Cap­tain Amer­ica kicked away at the top of the straight and made a bold bid to hold on. How­ever, his early ex­er­tions soon took their toll and Sail South draw level at the 200m mark and was still full of run­ning.

He went on to beat him by 1,25 lengths and re­turned odds of 17-1 com­pared to Cap­tain Amer­ica’s 41 price.

The rel­a­tively un­ex­posed Tarry-trained three-year-old geld­ing Mata­dor Man showed how good he was by storm­ing home from sec­ond last in the run­ning to fin­ish a 2,25 length third at odds of 15-1.


Bela-Bela started 26-10 favourite, but was held up on the false rail be­hind her sta­ble­mate It’s My Turn.

By the time she be­gan her chase down the in­side it was clear she was go­ing to bat­tle to make up the lee­way against the su­perbly con­di­tioned Craw­ford pair, who both had the ad­van­tage of com­ing into the race rel­a­tively fresh. How­ever, in her swan­song she still man­aged a re­spectable 2,75 length fourth.

The July win­ner Marinaresco un­der­stand­ably found the race a bridge too far af­ter a tough sea­son and made lit­tle im­pact from last place be­fore be­ing nursed home to fin­ish sec­ond last.

Ten Gun Salute, from third in the run­ning, held on for the fifth place cheque ahead of Ta­ble Bay.

It was an­other mag­nif­i­cent train­ing feat by Craw­ford and the time said it all.

The 108,28 sec­onds was more than four sec­onds faster than last year's re­newal and close to three sec­ond faster than the pre­vi­ous year’s. How­ever, it was not as quick as the 107,38 sec­onds of 2014 and there is lit­tle co­in­ci­dence that the win­ner of that race, Fu­tura, was also trained by Craw­ford. Craw­ford also won the race in 2013 with Jack­son.

Sail South be­gan show­ing his true class when get­ting a fast pace over 1 600m on Vo­da­com Dur­ban July day last year in the Listed Daisy Busi­ness So­lu­tions Hand­i­cap.

He de­stroyed them by five lengths that day de­spite car­ry­ing top­weight of 61kg off a 104 merit rat­ing.

He got an­other good pace in his sec­ond run of the sea­son over 1400m in a Pin­na­cle Stakes race and he cruised in by 3,5 lengths. That race was also the be­gini­ing of his suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship with Richard Fourie. How­ever, his trans­for­ma­tion into a gen­uine Grade 1 per­former came when he was held up for the first time by Fourie in the LÓr­marin’s Queen’s Plate. He over raced at the back yet still man­aged to fly up for third be­hind Le­gal Ea­gle and Cap­tain Amer­ica.

The same tac­tic was used in the Grade 1 Ris­ing un Gold Chal­lenge and af­ter over rac­ing again, he flew from a hope­less po­si­tion for fourth. Sat­ur­day was the first time he had gone be­yond a mile and the re­mark­able bay proved his class again. His North­fields dam did win over 2400m. Sail South was bred by Mr and Mrs GN Potts and is part-owned by them to­gether with GJ Dempsey.

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