Draw forced Tony Peter’s hand at Summer Cup
Main Defender in Merchants after landing wide Dingaans barrier.
The R5-million Betway Summer Cup will be run at Turffontein on Saturday but there are a number of other superb feature races on the 10- race card, including the Grade 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans over 1600m for three-year-olds and the Grade 3 New Turf Carriers Merchants over 1160m.
Many pundits were hoping for a replay of the Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m on Allied Steelrode Onamission Mile day where Main Defender and Sandringham Summit went toe-to-toe for the final 400m with the former getting the nod by a short head.
However, when the Dingaans declarations came through, Sandringham Summit was there but no Main Defender. He instead, was declared to run in the Merchants over 1160m.
“In the Dingaans he was drawn right out wide,” explained trainer Tony Peter. “We didn’t have the heart to do that to him.
“He shows a lot of speed and he has a high cruising speed. You saw it in his first run, and in all his races he likes to be right up there. He’s waiting to get the go-ahead to go, so we’ve sharpened him up and we feel as if he won’t have a problem with the trip.
“Kabelo (Matsunyane) is sticking with him so that’s nice that we have someone who knows him on aboard, and we’re looking forward to a massive run.”
ALSO READ: Summer racing was Joburg’s first big day out
Peter also has two runners in the Grade 1 Betway Summer Cup – Electric Gold and Meridius – and he is expecting a bold performance from both, but has particularly high expectations for Electric Gold, in particular.
This was a horse of which Tony’s father, Paul Peter, always had a high opinion but the son of Flying The Flag suffered from breathing issues.
“Funnily enough, since we’ve gelded him the breathing problem has gone away. It might just have been a bit of haemoconcentration, and he’s a completely different horse since he was gelded,” said Peter. “I think he’s had the right prep coming into this race. He’s going to find the 2000m on a more galloping track to his advantage.
“I didn’t think he had the best ride last time in the Victory Moon Stakes. I expected him to be in the first half of the field, but he missed the break and was too far out of his ground.
“The winner got an easy lead and Electric Gold still came running on really strongly to run third. I think from a good draw he will be right up there, and he will kick on from there.
“I think it’s hard when it comes to a big open race like this but he’s improved after his last run, he’s tightened up a lot more and he’s working really, really well so I’d be disappointed if he is out of the first four.”
While Electric Gold is perfectly drawn in gate No 5, Meridius is drawn widest of all at No 20. He also has not been tried over further than 1800m and finished second in both races, so Peter feels the four-year-old Canford Cliffs should stay the trip.
“He’s a horse who likes to get dropped out, so I don’t think the wide draw will be much of a problem. We’ll give him a chance, try to let him run on, and hope we get luck in running.
“He’s doing well and he’s a horse that on his last run in the Charity Mile he was running on, so it looks as if he should not have any problem with the extra distance. So, we’re just hoping for a good run from him.”