The Paul Lafferty-trained Dark Moon Rising was considered once to be a staying prospect but he has turned out to be a useful miler and yesterday produced his usual strong finish to land the Listed Kings Cup over 1600m at Greyville under Keagan de Melo.
The five-year-old Ideal World gelding’s two previous best runs this season were over the same course and distance, an easy win in November and a third in the Listed Christmas Handicap,
Yesterday, he was 1,5kg better off with Christmas Handicap-winner Matador Man for a 1,6 length beating and shortened into 26/10 favourite, while Matador Man drifted out to 4/1.
Matadotor Man was dropped out to his usual last place and Dark Moon Rising, who likes to run around horses in the straight, was just ahead of him.
Royal Armour set a steady pace.
Dark Moon Rising and Matador Man rounded the field together at the top of the straight. The 16/1 shot Roy’s Riviera burst through a gap just inside of them and Platinum Prince was running on down the inside.
However, it turned into a thrilling tussle between the trio on the outside. Dark Moon Rising found the necessary extra to deny topweight Matador Man a head with Roy’s Riviera a head further back.
It was a double for Lafferty who had earlier teamed up with Warren Kennedy to win with Romanesca.
Dark Moon Rising should also be effective over further and it will be no surprise to see him having another crack at the Vodacom Durban July.
Roy’s Riviera’s settled well for the first time since donning blinkers three runs ago. The SA Champions Season fillies mile division will be competitive but she could surprise one or two pundits as she has blossomed.
Earlier, Andre Nel’s Silver Rose won a strong Pinnacle Stakes race over 2200m under a clever ride by Gareth Wright. The slow pace did not suit the favourite Flichity by Farr, who ran a bit flat in third, but she remains a useful staying prospect for Champions Season.
Dean Kannemeyer’s The Sultan’s Bazaar won a MR84 Handicap over 1900m in fine style.
Dennis Drier and Sean Veale got the meeting rolling with the R900,000 two-year-old Master Of My Fate first-timer Master Of My Illusion. The gelding stretched out well late to just get his nose down in the 1200m Juvenile Plate event.
Tony Rivalland and Stuart Randolph then teamed up to score with the progressive Extravargant, who has now won two from three starts.
There were also wins for Alistair Gordon and Anton Marcus, Wayne Badenhorst and Jason Gates and Sean Tarry and Lyle Hewitson.
By David Thiselton