Gavin van Zyl clinched his eighth Grade 1 win on eLan Gold Cup day with the Kingsbarns filly Gabor and is now tentatively targeting the Drakenstein Stud homebred at the Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas.
Van Zyl earned small black type with Gabor’s mother Se Agabor, who was by Trippi, and Drakenstein’s loyalty in sending Gabor to him has paid off.
Van Zyl said he and jockey Warren Kennedy knew Gabor was decent after her maiden win over 1000m on the Greyville polytrack on May 29 and this was confirmed when she ran third in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m on Vodacom Durban July day.
Kennedy went into the latter race saying he would have definitely predicted a top three finish for her if it had not been for her wide draw and it was indeed the draw which was her undoing. She was caught wide and yet still stayed on for a fine 2,20 length third.
On Gold Cup day she landed a good draw in the Grade 1 Thekwini over 1600m and duly started favourite.
During the race she had her heels clipped which took off a hind shoe and nicked her coronet band and she also twisted a front shoe.
Yet she still managed to dig down deep to catch the leader Mill Queen and win going away.
“It was a win full of courage,” said Van Zyl, who now knows she is better than just “decent.”
He added, “Se Agabor wasn’t a champion, she was just decent, but the combination with Kingsbarns has worked. I am glad I have another Kingsbarns in the yard too and we are also very excited about him.”
The other Kingsbarns he was referring to was the gelding Walnut, who finished fourth on debut over 1000m on the Greyville poly on May 1.
Unfortunately Kingsbarns, who won the Grade 1 Racing Post Trophy for two-year-olds in England, passed away in May 2018.
Van Zyl said he would likely use the Grade 2 Western Cape Fillies Championship over 1400m at Kenilworth in late October as Gabor’s springboard into the Cape Fillies Guineas.
His yard have started this season where they left off last and have had three winners with just four runners.
They have feature race hopes too.
He said the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion third-placed Wave had not stayed the mile on Gold Cup day and would be kept to shorter.
The Grade 1 SA Derby third-placed Marchingontogether is a scopey sort who should come in to his own this season and they are expecting a decent campaign from the like of Blackball.
They also have a number of promising youngsters to look forward to.
By David Thiselton