Tap O’Noth shows the way in Cape Clas­sic

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

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

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.

Cape Guineas

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.

Hu­mi­dor

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.

- thor­ough­bred­news.com.au

Pic­tures: Liesl King

SNOW­DANCE was a sur­prise win­ner of the Gr 2 Western Cape Fil­lies Cham­pi­onship at Ke­nil­worth yes­ter­day. Bernard Fayd’ Herbe rode for Justin Snaith.

CHRIS WALLER

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.

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