Master Plan (SAF) set the seal on his winter campaign with an emphatic victory in the Gr 2 Betting World Derby over 2400m at Clairwood on Sunday, easily disposing of favourite Tribal Dance (SAF) with Red Fort (SAF) and Taipan (SAF) in the minor placings.
A slow-run race was always on the cards and favourite-backers saw their worst fears come true as Tribal Dance had to take matters in hand up front as nobody else showed any inclination to set the pace. Premium Wood and Penhaligon tracked him with Taipan nicely placed in fourth. Master Plan was next best ahead of Idaara as Red Fort and Shogunnar sat at the rear.
Tribal Dance stuck to his guns in the straight and managed to see off most of the pursuing pack apart from Master Plan who accelerated better than anything else when it mattered. He shot past as they approached the last furlong and although Tribal Dance tried to rally, he was two lengths adrift at the line.
The pace - or lack thereof - was bound to be a talking point afterwards but there's no arguing that Master Plan came into the race as one of the better-performed runners, having run a cracking second to Beach Beauty in the Betting World 1900, where he'd had to overcome a poor draw. He was rather disappointing when failing to mount a challenge in the Daily News 2000 thereafter, but this win will have laid that particular ghost to rest. Whether he will ever run over this sort of trip again remains to be seen, as he did not look an obvious stayer coming into the race. Given the absence of a real stamina test here, one gets the impression that he is a smart middle-distance horse who will be seen to good advantage over nine or the furlongs in future and who was able to use his superior finishing kick here when it mattered.
Tribal Dance definitely does stay but, given the way the race panned out, simply had no answer to the winner's turn of foot. He ran well enough in the circumstances but was clearly second best on the day. He's had a good season overall, though, having placed behind the likes of Jackson and Variety Club before winning the East Cape Derby and he could prove to be a big factor in the big staying races of the Cape summer festival.
Red Fort caught the eye as he was having only his third career start and this was a fine effort straight after shedding his maiden tag, as the pair that beat him home have some strong collateral form to their names. He's a temperamental sort, judging by the antics which saw him refuse to load at his previous intended start, so it remains to be seen whether he can build on this effort - but the raw ability certainly seems to be there and he could well go on to bigger things if his mind is on racing.
Taipan appeared to have every chance in fourth but simply could not kick on when it mattered. It's a bit of a conundrum whether he didn't get the trip or, conversely, didn't get the test of stamina that his pedigree suggested he was looking for here. He has shown signs of ability and it may be that we only see the best of him next season.
3 b g Jet Master - Princess Polly by Royal Chalice
Owner: Mr A L A Crabbia
Bred by Varsfontein Stud
Winning trainer: Greg Ennion
| Race 7 - R300K - BETTING WORLD DERBY (Grade 2)
For 3 year-olds - 2400m
||M J Byleveld