‘America’ gets the vote
BRETT Crawford joined Mike de Kock on five Gr 1s for the season, one behind the six of Sean Tarry, when Captain America won the Gr 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge over 1 600m at Greyville under his regular pilot Corné Orffer.
This race and the Gr 3 Cup Trial over 1 800m, which was won by the Justin Snaith-trained Elusive Silva, made the Vodacom Durban July picture a touch clearer.
However, the panellists who have to choose the final field face an unenviable task.
Captain America’s two career Gr 1 wins have now both been in weight for age miles. However, his only attempt at the July as a three-year-old colt in 2014 can be ignored as he jumped awkwardly and lost a length and then over raced.
As a relaxed six-year-old gelding his headstrong antics are now a thing of the past.
In this year’s Sun Met he had to be used up early to find the lead from a wide draw, yet was only caught at the 150m mark. However, he was hardly tiring as he rallied to finish third.
Furthermore, it was the fastest run Met since the first of Pocket Power’s Met victories in 2007.
The Conglomerate showed last year that being handy in the July can be an advantage and it is easy to imagine Captain America running a similar race to last year’s winning one. However, against him will be the topweight he will have to carry.
He is currently merit rated 116 and might get a point or two for Saturday’s win.
The line horse is likely to be either the consistent 1,75 length third-placed Bela-Bela or the 2,5 length fourthplaced Sail South, who proved his Queen’s Plate run was no fluke. Captain America ran to about a 117 compared to Bela-Bela.
However, she was a touch unlucky and that might be taken into account. Compared to Sail South, Captain America ran to about a 118 or 119. However, it might be taken into account that coming from the back at Greyville gave Sail South less time to make up the leeway than he had at Kenilworth, where he was 0,75 lengths behind Captain America in the Queen’s Plate.
Betting World reacted by chopping Captain America from 33-1 to 14-1. Marinaresco had every chance from a midfield position, but faded tamely when it counted and behind the strong pace he would have preferred to have been further back.
He has drifted out to 8-1. Bela-Bela’s running was taken up briefly at a crucial moment at the top of the straight, so her third was an outstanding effort. However, the bookmakers still have her at 25-1 as Justin Snaith has intimated that she will run in the Garden Province.
The Conglomerate stayed on under a sympathetic ride and it was a pleasing preparation for the defence of his July crown, where he will have a fine chance at the weights.
Saratoga Dancer was perhaps a bit too handy in a strongly paced race and didn’t find extra in the closing stages. However, he was in 13th place on the log so might be safe.
Brazuca was doing his best work late in quite an eye-catching preparation and in 11th position on the log should get in.
Master Sabina, who has booked his place, was also doing good work late. French Navy has never been one to run well fresh, but his well below par run will have been concerning for his supporters just three weeks away from the big race.
In the Cup Trial, Elusive Silva booked his place by quickening well off a slow pace and just pipping the pacemaker Crowd Pleaser.
Third-placed Black Arthur will be the biggest headache for the panellists.
They will attempt to find a place for him as he is 10-1 in the July betting and has enjoyed a fine preparation. After all, they did find a place for both Futura and Saratoga Dancer in recent years after they had finished third and fourth respectively in the Cup Trial.
Nightingale ran on well for second in the Gr 2 Tibouchina over 1 400m to keep her July hopes alive, but Silver Mountain will drop out of contention after being eased out of the race.