Crawford’s top guns get a thumbs-up
HIGH flying trainer Brett Crawford said his Graded feature runners for Saturday at Greyville, Captain America, Sail South, Nebula and Chevauchee, have all been doing very well at Summerveld.
Captain America has proven in the past to not need a lot of racing to reach his peak so should be in prime condition for the Gr 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge following his running on 0,4 length fifth in the Gr 2 Drill Hall Stakes over 1 400m.
He did not jump well in that race either. His best efforts lately have been either from the front or second in the running, but more importantly he settles wherever he is positioned these days which allows his resolute finish to have its maximum impact.
His last four Grade 1 weight for age (wfa) mile appearances have netted a facile win in the Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein in 2015 and three placed runs behind the current Equus Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle.
In the last of those runs Captain America finished second in the L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate, so on form is the horse to beat on Saturday. However, he does have a tough draw of ten, but Crawford does not believe he needs to lead. Regular rider Corné Orffer rides Captain America.
Gold Challenge contender Sail South has always had talent but has tended to over race. In this year’s Queen’s Plate he was dropped out to last and was duly seen to fight for his head on at least a couple of occasions. It was therefore a phenomenal effort to see him run on for a three length third to Legal Eagle, 0,75 lengths behind Captain America and 0,3 lengths ahead of Saturday’s favourite Marinaresco.
In the Drill Hall he was no given the opportunity to fight for his head as he was taken to the front and set a good pace. He was only caught late and finished a 0,45 THE Adam Marcus trained four-year-old gelding Royal Badge is rated a 150/1 shot with Betting World for the Vodacom Durban July, but a perusal over the progeny record of his under rated sire Go Deputy will quickly show he is not just a hopeful entry. He will stake a claim for a berth in the big race when he runs in the Gr 3 Cup Trial over 1 800m on Saturday at Greyville.
Marcus said, “His biggest asset is he is an extremely good mover.”
He showed that in his Champions Season pipe opener on the Greyville poly over 1 600m. He turned it on in the straight and his big stride carried him to a fast finishing fourth, 2,4 lengths behind Nebula, whom he faces on Saturday on 3kg better terms.
Marcus said, “It was a wonderful prep after a little break and he has improved from that run and is exceptionally well. I was very pleased with the acceleration he showed, so don’t think the 1 800m will be too short for him. We have always thought of him as a horse who was on the up and at this time of the Champions Season it just takes one race to go your way and you length sixth. Richard Fourie rides the improved six-year-old Sail From Seattle gelding for the fifth time in succession and they jump from a tricky draw of ten.
Nebula will need a big run in the Gr 3 Cup Trial over 1 800m to book a Vodacom Durban July berth as he was on the outside looking in on the last July log.
He won his KZN pipe opener hands and heels over 1 600m on the poly, where he showed a fine turn of foot.
The Algoa Cup winner will relish the step up in trip and is drawn in pole with leading jockey Greg Cheyne aboard. Cheyne had a bad fall on this horse in the Calulo Mile at Kenilworth in February.
It was neither the horse nor jockey’s fault, but Cheyne was side-lined for three weeks. Nebula will need to improve on his run in the Gr 2 Peninsula over 1 800m at Kenilworth in December, where he finished a 3,8 length seventh carrying 55kg and receiving 4kg from the winner.
However, the winner was Whisky Baron, who of course went on to win the Sun Met.
Furthermore, Nebula’s last start proved you can never write off a Silvano, they just get better and better with age. Silvano’s suddenly have a boom horse.”
Unfortunately, Royal Badge’s regular rider Richard Fourie will be aboard the fancied July horse Elusive Silva on Saturday.
However, Marcus is pleased with the replacement Grant van Niekerk, whom he said should know Royal Badge as he has ridden him in track work in Cape own before.
Adam’s famous father Basil, who was a seven-times Hong Kong Champion jockey, had two July runners as a trainer in Jay Peg and Desert Links.
Adam has not yet had a runner in the big race, but has earmarked a program for Royal Badge which is based on the one Desert Links followed in 2008. Desert Links won the Cup Trial, finished a 1,6 length fifth in the July and then won the Gold Cup.
Adam said, “It is very exciting to have a horse in contention for a place in the July and hopefully he gets in, that would be awesome.”
Looking at the stakes earners of Go Deputy’s first crop: Adobe Pink won two races in a busy season as a three-year-old and ended the season merit rated 76, but she won four on the trot as a four-year-old progeny have also proved themselves to have a liking for Greyville.
Nebula himself has had four starts at Greyville, all over 1 600m, for two wins, a third and a fourth and the third was in a Listed event. Chevauchee has always been brimful of talent and races in the Gr 2 Tibouchina over 1 400m. The lightly-raced four-year-old High Chaparral filly has won two Listed events, over 1 200m and 1 600m respectively, so the 1 400m trip should be right down her alley.
Crawford said she had not handled Scottsville in her SA Champions Season pipe-opener in the Gr 3 Poinsettia Stakes so a line can likely be drawn through that unplaced run.
The only other time she has finished out of the top three in a ten race career was in this year’s Gr 1 Paddock Stakes over 1 800m where she moved up well but then found no extra, so she likely didn’t see out the trip. Before that she gave each of the useful males Fifty Cents and Horizon 3,5kg in the Listed Jet Master Stakes over 1 600m at Kenilworth and ran a 1,75 length third behind them.
She jumps from a tricky draw of eight in the 14 horse field on Saturday and Cheyne is aboard. and ended the season merit rated 96; Pessoa was merit rated 78 entering the July of his three-year-old year and then won four on the trot, including his first three starts as a four-year-old, and he later added the Gr 3 King’s Cup to end the season merit rated 103; Changingoftheguard did well as a three-year-old winning two races including a Listed race and was merit rated 95, but an eight month break from January until September benefitted him because in his second start as a fouryear-old he won the Matchem Stakes, beating the crack three-year-old King Of Pain.
These are just three examples of the progeny of a sire who have always paid to follow the moment they turn four-yearsold as the improvement is notable in virtually every instance.
Royal Badge himself did well as a threeyear-old, winning three races, but his first black type-earning performance came in the December of this season as a fouryear-old when cruising to a 2,75 length win in the Gr 3 Grand West Cape Summer Stayers handicap over 2 500m.
He is now merit rated 95 and among his competition on Saturday will be another Go Deputy four-year-old, Go Direct, who has also proved progressive this season.
Royal Badge has a tricky draw of seven in the nine horse field, but in that last 1 600m race he had a similar draw and was dropped out to second where he found the rail and switched off nicely.