Golden touch from It’s My Turn

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - RACING - AN­DREW HAR­RI­SON

“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

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.

Pic­ture: Candiese Marnewick

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.

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