Golden Ducat, half-brother to Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam, booked his Cape Derby ticket by running on well to take fourth in the Betting World Pinnacle at Kenilworth on Saturday.
This was the three-year-old’s first outing since being gelded and strictly on ratings he should have finished six lengths last. “I hate throwing a young horse in at the deep end like that but he was to have run at last week’s cancelled meeting,” said Eric Sands, explaining why the horse was faced, on paper at any rate, with such a stiff task.
In the February 22 feature Golden Ducat will renew rivalry with Concorde Cup winner King Of Gems who gave him 3kg and finished half a length in front of him in third. The 2-1 favourite was found to be making an abnormal respiratory noise when examined by the vet but Brett Crawford said: “The trip was too short for him and they went slow. He will be back in his own age group in the Derby which has always been the plan.”
The race was won in convincing style by Priceless Ruler who may also be seen on February 22, in his case in the Selangor Jet Master Stakes. He had finished with only three behind him in the Peninsula Handicap and Dennis Dryer, who trains the four-year-old for wife Gilly, said: “I told M.J. not to worry about that last run, just find cover. There was no pace in the Peninsula and Priceless Ruler was bowling along in front – he has never been ridden like that before.”
Byleveld completed his second four-timer in four weeks including both The Cambo (despite a slipping saddle) and Labyrinth for Vaughan Marshall for whom he rides One World in the Sun Met – “The horse is flying and I can hardly wait for Saturday.”
He made all on the Paddy Kruyer-trained Over The Way in the Racing Association Maiden. The four-year-old was scoring at the 26th attempt, much to the delight of her ultra-patient owners Frank Sharp and the smartly-dressed Margaret O’Hara.
“We bought her for R100 000 at the Klawervlei Farm Sale but we only paid half that,” Sharp recalled. “We had another filly who died and John Koster gave us a credit of R50 0000. Every time we were thinking of calling it a day with her she would run second so we have carried on.”
Queen Of Quiet is another with a February 22 date and Justin Snaith named the Vasco Prix Du Cap as her objective after Richard Fourie steered the 2-1 shot to victory in the six furlong handicap. But the one to note for the Grade 3 fillies race is surely Cape Fillies Guineas fourth Larentina. She had top weight but simply flew home to dead-heat for second. She was beaten less than half a length and will be 7.5kg better in the Grade 3.
Piet Botha, a man surely going places, won the first with the Louis Mxothwa-ridden Senor Don and has recently added to his owners Marsh Shirtliff who was in the winner’s box with the Aldo Domeyer-ridden Fabian in the last. Candice Bass-Robinson elected to go for this handicap rather than take on the might of Kasimir in Saturday’s Cape Flying Championship but Shirtliff is still looking forward to Saturday “with the R18-20 million Pick Six to challenge for.”
So too are, for a very different reason, are Adam Marcus and Craig Zackey who won with Hello Winter Hello – although the training half of the Vardy combination admitted that he was getting grey hairs!
By Michael Clower