Golden touch from It’s My Turn
“IT WAS a long time between drinks,” 27 years to be exact, but Anton Marcus celebrated in style as he drove favourite It’s My Turn to a superb victory in the R1.25 million Gr3 eLan Gold Cup at Greyville yesterday.
“It was also a long wait then,” quipped Marcus postrace. “I had to wait 25 minutes because of an objection. Icona and Castillian Dancer.”
Second yesterday was last year’s winner Hermuso Mundo with outsider Wild Wicket running a cracker in third.
The race panned out perfectly for It’s My Turn who staked his claim as Equus Stayer of the year after winning the KZN Derby and the Gold Vase leading up to yesterday’s win.
It was also the third win in the race for Dean Kannemeyer after Colonial Girl and In Writing.
Let It Rain and Royal Utopia set solid early fractions and Marcus was able to settle midfield. Up the hill and heading for the home turn, Marcus pulled wide to avoid the traffic on the inside rail.
It’s My Turn responded smoothly to his rider’s urgings, hitting the front crossing the subway and going on to win comfortably.
Hermuso Mundo came from last up the hill and was running on strongly to snaffle a game Wild Wicket for second.
Duncan Howells was well satisfied with Wild Wicket. “He’s finally showing us what he is capable off.
“He will only be five next year and last year’s winner ran second.”
Captain America has been a tremendous servant to Brett Crawford and his owners and the game son of Captain Al rounded off a superb career with a fitting victory in the Gr1 World Sports Betting Champions Cup, the final Gr1 of the current season.
An emotional Crawford was lavish in his praise of Captain America who was recording his 10th victory and stake earnings of over R6 million.
It was a superb ride by stable rider Corne Orffer who has been aboard the gelding for almost his entire career. “He’s the best horse that I have ridden in my career so far. He is also a best friend.”
Captain America didn’t let him down as Orffer rode a clever tactical race.
The gelding pulled himself to the head of affairs as is his want and once clear, Orffer slowed the pace with nothing in the race willing to take him on.
Orffer kicked for home at around the 700m mark and went five or six lengths clear with no chasers.
With a good lead at the top of the straight, nothing was going to get past.
Eyes Wide Open
Eyes Wide Open looked a possible threat a furlong out but he never got to Captain America and was swamped on the line by Undercover Agent, one of three Crawford runners in the race, and Top O’ Noth who also rattled home.
“He ran a great race,” said Marcus of second-placed Undercover Agent. “I knew the older horses would be tough to beat because he is still a big baby. He’ll be much better next year.”
Will Pays and Craig Zackey took full advantage of a breakneck early pace to snatch the Gr1 Mercury Sprint from a brace of fast-finishers, Attenborough and the notoriously slow starter Trip To Heaven.
Sunset Eyes and Back Cat Back set quick early fractions and approaching the final furlong is looked as if the two stable companions would contest the finish.
However, their early exertions took their toll and they were treading water as Will Pays took the shortest way home to score the 12th win of his career for father and son combination of Mike and Adam Azzie.
“I knew this 12 was going to be quick and if I was within five or six lengths turning for home I would win the race,” said Zackey.
“He deserved this Gr1. He’s been a great soldier,” he added.
Earlier Mike de Kock celebrated equalling the legendary Terrance Millard’s record of 117 Gr1 victories as he saddled the first two past the post in the Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes.
Recently appointed stable jockey Randall Simons has had a dream run for his new stable and crowned his season with an audacious ride on hot favourite Soqrat who came home clear of Alyaasaat, both racing in the internationally famous colours of Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Simons turned for home with plenty of horse under him and elected to go wide on the turn, a move that either elicits praise if you win or derision if you lose.
There were no worries for Simons as Soqrat motored home. Bernard Fayd’Herbe, who had been the architect of Soqrat’s defeat when riding Barahin in the Golden Horseshoe on July Day, had it all to do from his outside draw. He elected to drop Alyaasaat out from the jump and was last turning for home. He got a dream split up the middle of the field but the bird had flown.
Apprentice Lyle Hewitson, the first apprentice since the legendary Michael Roberts to win the National Jockey’s Championship, was honoured by Gold Circle but he would have been happier had he been aboard Gr1 Thekwini Stakes winner Return Flight instead of receiving his gold watch with his leg in a brace.
Marcus made the most of the pick-up ride for Sean Tarry as he produced Return Flight with a well-timed run to hold off the attentions of Railtrip and Can You Feel It to score the 101st Gr1 victory of a remarkable career. Return Flight was also the first Gr1 winner for former Vodacom Durban July winner Pomodoro who also triumphed in the colours of Chris van Niekerk.
“My day is done,” said an emotional Van Niekerk who has placed enormous faith in his champion who stands at Klawervlei Stud although ironically Return Flight was a R20 000 yearling buy, having been bred by Highlands Farm stud manager Mike Sharkey.
Justin Snaith, crown his second National Trainer’s Championship with a one-two in the Gr2 Kuda Gold Bracelet as Miyabi Gold scraped home ahead of stable companion Gimme Six with Epona the meat in the sandwich, a head back in third.
Anton ‘Superman’ Marcus rode a tactical race to guide IT'S MY TURN to victory in the eLAN Gold Cup at Greyville yesterday. Minor placings went to Hermoso Mundo, Wild Wicket, Strathdon and Made To Conquer. Dean KIannemeyer saddled the winner.