Its A Wrap!

WSB Champions Cup
Golden Ducat, who very nearly did not see a racecourse, enjoyed his second Grade 1 victory of the season when edging out half-brother and stable companion Rainbow Bridge is a desperate finish to the World Sports Betting Champions Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville today.

This was a fitting end to the extended racing season, finishing a month over schedule due to the virus lock-down.

The race was a triumph for trainer Eric Sands who saddled both first and second with both horses racing in the silks of Mike and Norma Rattray.
It was also a first Gr1 winner for Donovan Dillon who was choked with emotion post-race. “Some people asked why I kept him on,” said Sands. “He lost a lot of weight to ride in the July and he did nothing wrong.”
Dillon was grateful for the faith shown by Sands and he repaid with a tremendous ride.
“I was a long way back early but the plan was to look for some cover. I had to bowl Gavin (Lerena) to get where I wanted,” he laughed. “But I told you on Tuesday that the horse had improved from the July and he has a tremendous turn of foot.”
Golden Ducat is out of the sensational broodmare Halfway To Heaven whose three runners to date include Hawwaam, Rainbow Bridge and Golden Ducat, all multiple Grade 1 winners and a R7 million yearling at the recent Bloodstock SA sales.
Golden Ducat had many problems as a youngster to the point that he did not get to a sale and was offered to Sands and Rattray as a last resort. Today he took his earnings to over the R1 million mark and more importantly set himself up for consideration as an Equus Award winner.
Rainbow Bridge, a winner last year, looked to have the race at his mercy as the field crossed the subway and had Cirillo in his sights. However, Cirillo was not giving in. Rainbow Bridge finally wore him down in the last few jumps but Golden Ducat was in full cry and nailed his stable companion on the line.

WSB Gold Cup
A horse with a difficult temperament and having to be coaxed to the start by S’Manga Khumalo, Paths Of Victory (55-1) caused a major upset when making all to win the Gr3 World Sports Betting Gold Cup for Gareth van Zyl and owner Mario Ferreira. Paybackthemoney stayed on for second with the mare Flichity By Farr and Eyes Wide Open fighting it out for the shallow end of the purse.
“He’s a tricky horse, as you saw going down to the start,” said Van Zyl and racing in ear-muffs for the first time had the desired effect. Khumalo thanked Van Zyl for not holding him to any instructions and the trainer returned the compliment. “In the paddock I could see S’Manga was in the zone,” commented Van Zyl post-race.

“The plan was to find some cover,” Khumalo explained. “But he came out so well and with his light weight I thought that to ease out of it was the wrong thing to do. I thought, ‘I’ll just let you do your thing’.

“Going through the 400 he was full of running and past the line he didn’t want to stop.”
Of the favourites It’s My Turn and Marchingontogether there was no sign. Paths Of Victory had them stretch out like the washing shortly after the start and the opposition never made up any ground with Flichity By Farr and Paybackthemoney always close-up and the favourites some 20 lengths off the pace.
In the Gold Cup, often more than in any other race, pace plays a big part. This race was run nearly 10 seconds slower than the race record set by Aquanaut in 1987 so it is little wonder that the first four home were in the vanguard for all of the race and those at the back misjudged it completely.

WSB Mercury Sprint

Van Halen, unlucky last year in the Gr1 WSB Mercury Sprint, made amends this time around as regular pilot Craig Zackey steered Corne Spies’s gelding to a convincing and uncomplicated win.
Spies has done wonders with a horse that has had a myriad of problems throughout his career. But he was good enough to win the Gr1 Gold Medallion as a two-year-old and reached the pinnacle of his career in the Mercury.

“He hadn’t race for nearly a year before his last race,” conformed Zackey. “But he had come on f rom his last run on July day and bounced down to the start like a two-year-old. I smiled to my self because I knew he was back to his old self.”
“He is the stable superstar,” said Spies. “He has come so well after his last race.

“He was unlucky last year. He was completely closed off and should have won the race. He took his revenge.”

Warrior’s Rest and outsides Fabian and Speedpoint filler the minor placings. Russet Air was dropped out at the start from his wide draw but made no impression in the straight while last year’s winner, Kasimir and the fancied Chimichuri Run made up some ground but never threatened to trouble the judges.

Thekwini Stakes
Anything Goes kept her unbeaten record and added a Grade 1 to her CV with a terrific victory in the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes. In a no quarters asked stretch duel, Diego de Gouveia kept his mount hard to her task, holding off a desperate challenge from War Of Athena and S’Manga Khumalo with Princess Calla, a distant third, edging out Trickster.
Stuart Pettigrew knew from the first time his filly set foot on the track that the daughter of Var was something special and went into the race three-from-three.
“You can’t go into a Group 1 too confident but I expected her to win,” explained Pettigrew. “Today was to see how good she was and make no mistakes, that second horse is a good horse.”
Owned by Ian van Schalkwyk and Anton Marx, it was Marx’s first Grade 1 winner and the second for De Gouveia who won the Cape Derby two seasons back for Mike de Kock.
De Gouveia always had his mount in a challenging position and drove her up the inside rail. War Of Athena made her run up the centre and the two had the race to themselves over the final furlong.
Premiers Champion Stakes
Gold Cup Day 2020 is one Diego de Gouveia will cherish as he scored back-to-back Grade 1 victories getting the filly Sentbydestiny up in a driving finish to the Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes. The daughter of Master Of My Fate burst through with a telling late run out-gunned Gr2 Golden Horseshoe winner Nobese and Crimson King who was also finishing with a wet sail.
It was a first Grade 1 win for Candice Dawson and the filly’s Mauritian owner Vicky Veeramootoo and a third for De Gouveia.
It was a case of destiny as Dawson opted to take on the colts rather than jump from a bad draw in the Thekwini Stakes. It proved to be an inspired decision although Dawson was not on course, being laid-up and watching from her Highveld home with her assistant and sister, Tammy doing the honours.
The draw put paid to the chances of favourite Tempting Fate as Sean Veale elected to make for the lead from his wide draw. He took no prisoners on the way, bowling horses on his inside shortly after the start, that earned him a 10-day holiday from the stipendiary stewards.
Once in front Veale eased up on the pace but the early exertions told in the straight and the fuel tank flashed empty with 100m to run.

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