Tap O’Noth shows the way in Cape Classic
THE three-year-olds males had their first important clash of the Cape Summer Of Champions Season in the Gr3 Cape Classic over 1 400m on the Kenilworth Winter course yesterday and the established partnership of Vaughan Marshall and MJ Byleveld combined to win with Captain Al colt Tap O’Noth.
Later, the three-year-old fillies clashed in the Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship over 1 400m and the Justin Snaith-trained Snowdance made it a double for Captain Al with an emphatic start to finish victory under Bernard Fayd’Herbe.
Tap O’Noth broke well from a draw of five in the ten horse field and found a handy position in the running behind the pacemaker Billy Silver.
In the straight he quickened well to join the staying on Brett Crawford-trained Captain Al colt Undercover Agent.
Tap O’Noth slowly got the better of this battle and was three-quarters of a length clear at the line.
However, he returned odds of 3-1 and was the bookmakers favourite, although the Tote favourite was Cot Campbell, who stayed on for a 3,25 length third, narrowly ahead of his Justin Snaith-trained stablemate Sir Frenchie.
The KZN campaigners Billy Silver and Sniper Shot were fifth and sixth respectively.
The Cape Classic has sometimes unearthed top classic all rounders as well as classic milers, but it is one more often won by speedier, distance suited horses.
Tap O’Noth, who has won three out of four starts, looks likely to stay the mile of the Gr 1 Cape Guineas, but the question is whether he is good enough to win it.
He will face a lot stronger field, which will likely include Our Mate Art, who beat him over 1 400m last time out, Winter series Triple Crown winner African Night Sky, the classy KZN Grade 1 winner Sand And Sea, promising Highveld horses Like A Panther and Captain And Master, Gr1 winner Eyes Wide Open and others.
Undercover Agent is a rangy sort, who is out of a Listed Winter Oaks winner, so he will also have a say in the Guineas.
In the Western Cape Fillies Championship Snowdance was the only horse in the race as she galloped clear in the straight despite starting odds of 15-1.
She made it a treble on the day for Snaith.
The hot favourite Magical Wonderland could only chase in vain and was beaten 4,25 lengths with Rose In Bloom next best. WINX made history when winning her third $3m, Group 1 WFA Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2 040m) in succession at The Valley yesterday.
The Chris Waller trained and Hugh Bowman ridden sixyear-old Street Cry mare won in front of a packed house that roared her every move and while she might not have won as dominantly as expected the mare took pride of place for the 32, 617 crowd.
Humidor (NZ) and Blake Shinn gave the mare a serious challenge that was not unexpected, but not as close as the winning margin of a long neck at the line.
Bowman settled Winx from barrier five in mid-field while he waited for the time to move which was going down the top straight. He eased the mare forward and it seemed a formality.
Then Shinn brought Humidor out to clear running room and he set off, very well, after the mare who was heading to the line from the 300m with an expanding margin.
Humidor, who last week finished fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup over 2 400m with 56kg, surged after Winx and for a moment was hauling in the leader.
Winx was not stopping and Bowman glanced over to his left as Humidor made his presence felt.
He immediately gave added urgency to his riding and Winx kept up the now decreased margin, Bowman was then confidently shaking his left fist in celebration strides before the line.
The margin was along neck with Humidor (Teofilo) a long way ahead of Folkswood (GB) (Exceed And Excel) and Kerrin McEvoy in third. Royal Symphony and Dean Yendall were fourth, Gailo Chop (FR) fifth, Happy Clapper sixth, Seaburge seventh and Hardam eighth.
“It is a thrill to be here. I have been one of those many people up in the stand, admiring this race, admiring the history of this race and Australian sport. It is humbling to be on the other side looking at everybody and I thank them for embracing Winx like she’s their own,” said Waller.
“You do not have any emotion watching her it is just the last 400m, where the intensity builds in the race and that is where you expect her to start to show. She did that today.
“Obviously she was in for the fight, it was not an easy victory, but you do not come to these races expecting to win. She had to be good to fight off Humidor and other runners in the race, it was a fair dinkum Cox Plate. Well done to connections of the second horse and the rest of the runners – they got beaten by a good horse,” he said.
An ecstatic Bowman said: “I cannot explain, it has been such a build-up. Greg Childs said after we won last year that nothing will prepare you for next year and he was right.”
He added: “I am lost for words. She has made history. I was born the year Kingston Town won his first Cox Plate and to think she has emulated the great, trying to compare one horse to another, they’re all different animals at the end of the day. But we are in the presence of greatness. She will be recognised as one of the greatest horses to grace the Australian turf. I think Chris Waller needs to take a lot of the credit. To be able to manage an animal like this, and bring her back three years in a row and peak her on the day in particular.”
For the record Winx equalled Kingston Town’s three Cox Plate wins, she has now had 22 wins in succession, equalled Black Caviar’s 15 Group 1 victories. Winx, out of the Al Akbar mare Vega Showgirl, overall has raced 32 times and won 26 and placed second three times for owners Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock Racing, Richard Treweeke and Debbie Kepitis.
SNOWDANCE was a surprise winner of the Gr 2 Western Cape Fillies Championship at Kenilworth yesterday. Bernard Fayd’ Herbe rode for Justin Snaith.
TAP O’NOTH, ridden by MJ Byleveld and trained by Vaughn Marshall, did not disappoint when winning the Gr 3 Cape Classic at Kenilworth yesterday.