That extra 400m from the normal 3200m has caught out a lot of runners but there are two runners who have excelled over the distance – last year’s winner Crown Of Gold and old man of the race Key Castle, who has a win and a second place behind Crown Of Gold.
Last year Crown Of Gold was trained by Joey Ramsden who raided from the Western Cape, but since then the gelding has moved to Port Elizabeth and is in the care of Tara Laing. The five-year-old son of Silvano showed his wellbeing by winning the Listed Glenlair Trophy over 3200m, meeting many of the runners he will be facing in the Gold Cup today.
He beat Paddy O’Reilly by 0.50 lengths on that occasion but the runner-up is not in this field and Crown Of Gold, despite a 1.5kg penalty, should have the measure of this field. He will be ridden by Raymond Danielson who was aboard in the Glenlair Trophy.
Trainer Jacques Strydom has a good record with stayers and he saddles Gianduja, Key Castle and Vital Match. Vital Match will need massive improvement to feature but the other two must be considered.
Gianduja finished a 2.25-length third behind Crown Of Gold in his last start and with the 1.5kg weight turnaround should go close, on the conditions he stays the additional 500m. Key Castle, although rising 11 years old, keeps his best for this race as he stays every inch of the journey. He was beaten one length by Crown Of Gold in last year’s race and is 3kg better off so could cause an upset if in a galloping mood.
Drill Sargeant, stable companion to Crown Of Gold, finished a 1.25-length third in last year’s race and with a 1kg pull could also challenge his stablemate. Richard Fourie takes the ride.
The Listed East Cape Breeders Stakes looks at the mercy of Justin Snaith-trained Captainofmysoul. This four-year-old filly has raced against some of the best of her sex in Cape Town and looks far too good for her Port Elizabeth opposition.