The Gr 3 Cup Trial, run over 1800m at Clairwood on Saturday, produced a remarkable spectacle with Gold Onyx (NZ) lunging late to collar stablemate and long-time leader, the veteran Buy And Sell (SAF). English Garden (SAF) stayed on for third ahead of Lake Arthur (SAF).
Buy And Sell was soon in front and opened up by seven lengths or so from Polar Bound and Lion In Winter. Lake Arthur was next best with Gold Onyx just behind him to the inside and English Garden about a length further behind, racing on the rails.
Buy And Sell had increased his lead to around a dozen lengths, possibly fifteen, as he brought the field in for home and punters must have started to experience a few tremors when it became apparent that the 75/1 shot wasn't going to fold tamely, as might have been expected. More to the point, the chasing pack, although closing in gradually, was not doing so nearly fast enough to suggest that they were going to swamp the long-time leader.
The gap started to narrow in the final furlong as the gallant 8-year-old finally started to feel the effects of his early exertions but only Gold Onyx was producing a finish that looked likely to reel him in. Racing in the same colours, but exactly half the age of his stablemate, Gold Onyx swept on by in the final strides to win going away and deny the long-time leader what would have been a sensational victory.
Gold Onyx was one of four former Gr 1 winners in the race and it will come as a relief for trainer Sean Tarry and owner Chris van Niekerk that he has regained form after a rather frustrating 3-year-old campaign last season. This was his third win in his last four starts and he showed plenty of resolve when it mattered. He's always been a horse with ability and this was his sixth career win, of which four have come in feature races.
Buy And Sell, the most accomplished runner in the race, is one of the few horses to have matched strides successfully with Pocket Power when the champion was in his prime, having finished ahead of him on three occasions at Gr 1 level in years gone by. He has a great record over this course and distance, having won the Champions Cup here in 2008 and then finishing a close third in the same race a year later. Those glory days are obviously behind him, but he showed that he can still compete at this sort of level and there will be plenty of sympathy that his brave front-running effort did not result in victory.
English Garden didn't really look like a Vodacom Durban July winner here but trainer Mike Bass will have left something to work on before the Big One. He is another horse whose connections will be relieved to see back in form after bleeding problems appeared to have put his career in jeopardy. He could yet make the frame in the July if things go his way, although he still has to convince that he is back to the form he showed last season.
Lake Arthur ran well enough in the circumstances. He probably found the trip a shade too far for his liking and was quite high up in the weights but stayed on well after racing wide from a poor draw.
4 br g Black Minnaloushe (USA) - Egoli Lass (NZ) by Kaapstad (NZ)
Owner: Mr C J H Van Niekerk
Bred by P A Newman & Windsor Park Stud Ltd
Winning trainer: Sean Tarry
|Race 5 - R200K - CUP TRIAL (GRADE 3) SPONSORED BY DAFTA
Merit Rated Handicap - 1800m
||GOLD ONYX (NZ)
||BUY AND SELL
||LION IN WINTER
||RIO CARNIVAL (AUS)
||ORBIT WAR (ARG)
||DANCE AT DAYLIGHT