Two weeks in a row, Summerhill-breds have grabbed the laurels in the Western Cape’s principal races. Rebel King in the Diadem (which he and three time Diadem hero, Nlavini have made the race Summerhill’s own), and Pick Six in the Premier Trophy. The pressure was on as a result, when it came to Sunday’s Cape Summer Stayers Handicap Gr3, where Kahal’s emerging son Desert Links, was carrying the flag for the farm, Basil Marcus, Etienne Braun and a team of other investors over the extended 2500m of the Kenilworth course.
Unusually for Cape Town, they went a merry clip in the early stages and Desert Links found himself some 15 to 16 lengths adrift turning for home. He’s matured this fellow, at least physically, since his stirring second in the Gold Circle Derby last July, yet even for him this was a telling ask. That didn’t deter him however, and he came with a frenetic rattle despite having to change direction and legs, only to be denied by a nose at the post. Half a stride beyond and he was a winner, and with every stride in the next 50 meters he showed just how convincing a winner he would’ve been with a touch more experience.
Owner Etienne Braun (who owned the winner as well) and Basil Marcus both proclaimed him a tough nut to crack for Met Day’s J & B Stayers, Gr2, on the strength of this performance, but that doesn’t get away from how hard it is to win three in a row, when you’re down in Stormers country.