This hot “new” partnership won both the Grade 2 Selangor Cup with the colt De Kock and the R2-million Lanzerac Ready to Run Stakes with Captain America, as well as clinching the last with heavily backed favourite Gulf Storm.
Hatt also snared the Grade 2 Betting World Merchants when the well-handicapped Tevez put in a career-best performance to wrest the prestigious sprint from Chave De Oura and an unlucky favourite, Divine Jet.
In other races, long-shot Ice Machine beat off King of Pain to win the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes and stalwart stayer Paddy O Reilly endured to win the Kenilworth Cup (Listed).
Champions Beach Beauty and Capetown Noir were expected to fight out the Green Point Stakes but neither could match the finishing zip of Ice Machine who came from well off a strong pace to nab King Of Pain just short of the line.
Ice Machine, previously plagued by unsoundness, went to post “better than ever” according to former trainer Garth Puller and returned with a powerful late lunge. Current trainer Dean Kannemeyer must take credit for extracting the best from this very talented Silvano gelding.
King Of Pain was admirable in defeat and looks certain to pick up a big prize during the summer. Both Beach Beauty and Capetown Noir seemed to hit flat spots and could find no extra in the finish, but were not disgraced after racing quite handy in a race run at a furious early gallop.
In the Selangor Cup, De Kock, positioned midfield around the turn made a strong run up the centre to hold off deep closer Legislate. Trainer Crawford said that his runner is “still learning and has plenty of scope.” Placed horses Speed Rocket and Dynastic Power raced in the vanguard and kicked early, but could not contain the stronger finishers. Champion stallion Dynasty recorded a remarkable feat in siring the first four past the post.
Red Ray was odds-on to lift the R1-million winning cheque in the Ready to Run Stakes. After getting over from a wide draw to slot in just behind the pacemaker and moving well into the straight, he yielded late under persistent pressure from the long-striding Captain America. This victory prompted jockey Hatt to describe the Captain Al colt as a “super horse”.
Trainer Crawford has always rated Captain America but admitted that “he has developed quicker than expected. We will consider our options, but even the Met is not out of the question off 52kg.”
In the Kenilworth Cup over 3200, Dynasty made his mark again with the lightly raced seven-year-old Paddy O Reilly, who stayed on well to catch another old stalwart, Posh Boy. Barossa Valley made a wide sweeping move on the turn but faded late into third spot.
The only off-key note on an otherwise outstanding day of quality racing was the debacle at the start of the Merchants. The official loading time was a ludicrous seven minutes as a succession of fractious horses played up badly and were repeatedly given chances to load. After those shenanigans, it was unsurprising that, amongst others, the favoured Divine Jet broke sluggishly, losing his race at the jump.
The Bass stable benefitted as the feisty Tevez showed expected improvement, stripping fitter after gelding and taking advantage of a big pull at the weights, to clinch the deal. The racy Caesour sprinter quickened swiftly down the inner to outrun a resurgent Chave De Oura.
Divine Jet made a powerful mid-race move from the tail and only went down half a length, a sterling effort under the circumstances.