where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2009-08-01 20:34:54  

They are possibly the most famous colours in South African racing and they were seen to the fore at Greyville on Saturday as Mokaro (SAF) led home stablemate Noblewood (SAF) in the Gr 1 Canon Gold Cup over 3200m. Both runners carried the black-and-yellow silks of Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer and the race was a triumph for trainer Stephen Page who was notching up the biggest success of his career. Bill Of Rights (SAF) and Santa (SAF) ran on for the minor placings.

The field broke well, apart from Arctic Fleece who lost a few lengths at the start, and it was Steady Chat who showed up early from Mokaro with Equal Image, Polzeath and Noblewood also in the vanguard. Once they settled into racing order, it was Polzeath who took them along at a moderate gallop with Thundering Jet moving up a few places into second and Steady Chat, Equal Image, Mokaro and Noblewood tracking them. Bouquet-Garni was next best, well enough placed on the rails with Senor Versace in midfield and Sudden Storm, Santa and Bill Of Rights racing in the second half of the pack.

Polzeath brought them in for home and was soon under pressure as Steady Chat also started to backpedal and Thundering Jet found nothing more. Bill Of Rights showed his customary turn of foot and charged through to dispute the lead 300m out. The field had fanned out across the track with Bouquet-Garni in contention to the inside, the Page-trained pair also finding their feet and Senor Versace starting his dash to the outside.

The result was by no means obvious entering the last furlong and it was only in the closing stages that Mokaro kicked clear of the rest to win going away with Noblewood just shading Bill Of Rights and Santa running on late to grab fourth.

Mokaro has been very consistent over the past year running a string of places in staying events and capping those performances with a runaway win in the J & B Reserve Stayers. He'd warmed up for this race with a respectable third in the Gold Vase over 3000m a month ago - after setting the pace - and he showed here that he can be as effective if ridden with a bit more restraint. The race marked a magnificent day for trainer Page, a man who goes about his business quietly but effectively and showed here what he can do if given the opportunity. Jockey Richard Fourie rode a superbly judged race and he continues to live up to the high expectations created when he first appeared on the scene as a highly promising apprentice.

Noblewood ran a top race in defeat but it must be said that he ran well above his previous form. He'd shown himself to be a fair handicapper but nothing in his record suggested he would be up to this sort of task. The step up in trip certainly seemed to bring out the best in him.

Bill Of Rights had failed several times in the past when tried beyond 2400m and this was by far his best effort over a marathon distance. He is capable of a serious turn of foot and he may just have run out of steam in the last 100m after having moved up like a winner. He did not have an easy task near the top of the weights and he emerged with his reputation enhanced.

Santa is arguably the best stayer in Gauteng if one examines his record over the past 18 months and it was no surprise to see him finish up there. He was doing his best work late and there was nothing wrong with this performance, especially as he is better on the galloping tracks of his home province.

Mokaro is a 6-y-o gelding by Manaloj (USA) out of Matumi (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA). He was bred by his owner, Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer.

Winning trainer: Stephen Page.

Race 7 - R1.2M - CANON GOLD CUP (Grade 1)
Merit Rated Handicap - 3200m
No Horse Jockey Al/Bl Kg Dr Fin Dist Time OP SP Prev
4 MOKARO Richard Fourie A B 56.5 12 1 0.00 202.18     GE928
18 NOBLEWOOD Karis Teetan *0.0 A 52.5 6 2 1.25 202.42     CD981
2 BILL OF RIGHTS Bernard Fayd'Herbe A 57.5 2 3 1.50 202.47     GE926
7 SANTA Donovan Habib A 56.0 9 4 2.25 202.61     TN1183
3 SENOR VERSACE Anton Marcus A B 57.5 3 5 3.00 202.76     GE928
14 SUDDEN STORM Ian Sturgeon A 54.5 1 6 3.05 202.77     CD981
13 BOUQUET-GARNI Anthony Delpech A 55.0 5 7 3.55 202.87     GE930
17 MR. ESPLENDID (ARG) Kelvin Jupp A 53.0 14 8 3.80 202.91     CD981
5 THUNDERING JET Greg Cheyne A 56.5 10 9 3.90 202.93     GE930
6 METEOR SHOWER (IRE) Brandon Lerena A B 56.0 18 10 4.00 202.95     GE930
1 EQUAL IMAGE (ARG) Johnny Geroudis A P 58.0 16 11 5.25 203.20     GE928
9 DIAMOND QUEST Stuart Randolph A 55.5 8 12 6.00 203.34     GE928
16 AL PASHA M J Byleveld A 53.0 20 13 6.10 203.36     GE926
11 STEADY CHAT Sean Cormack A B 55.5 15 14 7.10 203.56     GE928
12 ARCTIC FLEECE Kendall Minnie A 55.5 13 15 7.35 203.61     FW499
20 SWARMING Raymond Danielson A B 52.5 4 16 7.60 203.65     GE928
8 CASEY'S SON Nicky Roebuck A 55.5 7 17 7.70 203.67     GE928
15 WESTERN WALK Muzi Yeni A B 53.5 17 18 9.45 204.02     GE928
10 JUST LIKE AL Karl Neisius A B 55.5 11 19 10.70 204.26     GE928
19 POLZEATH (GB) Warren Kennedy A 52.5 19 20 13.70 204.85     SV942


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