Veteran O Caesour (SAF) caused an earthquake at Kenilworth on Saturday when he upstaged reigning champion Mythical Flight (SAF) in the Graham Beck Wines Cape Flying Championship (Gr 1) in the process ending the latter’s unbeaten record over 1000m.
Mythical Flight, sent off at prohibitive odds of 1/7, was soon in his customary role at the head of affairs, as the field split into two packs on either side of the course. The favourite led from Ice Wine along the inside rail with Glen Hatt and O Caesour sitting pretty in their slipstream. Hear The Drums showed good pace to lead the standside group with Relinyane and Something Else also prominent there and Rebel King held up behind them.
Mythical Flight was still in front 300m out but something was clearly amiss as he was not finding a second gear and kicking clear of the field as he usually does. Brett Smith, unusually, was hard at work and the stick was out. O Caesour, meanwhile, was making smooth progress towards his inside as Rebel King started to make up ground on his side of the track.
Mythical Flight was virtually swamped inside the last 100m and though he stuck his neck out gamely and managed to hold off the rest of his pursuers, O Caesour was finishing much too strongly for him and he ran the favourite down to win going away.
Understandably, there was a sense of shock after the race with most of the focus on the defeat of Mythical Flight rather than O Caesour’s victory. This was unfair on the winner, who put in a great performance on the day and - lest we forget - the 8-year-old was one of the top sprinters around back in his prime. However, he had been so far off his best in recent times, that he could not be given any chance on form and it was no surprise to see him sent off at the huge price of 125/1. If O Caesour has indeed found another lease of life, then his connections can look forward to more fun with this gallant son of Caesour, who has always been a formidable campaigner when in top form.
One also had to feel pleased for trainer Sean Humby who pointed out that he tried to get O Caesour ready for this race in previous years without any luck. This time, when he admittedly had no expectations, the old-timer had finally claimed the prize.
“Lovely to win on a horse like this. It was hard to look past Mythical Flight, but you never know what’s going to happen. He switched off like a dream early on and we had a lead in the race. The race worked out in our favour,” said Jockey Glen Hatt.
Personal Fantacy (SAF) ran a blinder in third. The 7-year-old had been holding his form very well coming into the race, but this was a notable step up in class for him and he ran on very well at the death.
Rebel King (SAF) produced his usual late charge and was not disgraced over a trip that is on the sharp side for him these days. It would be interesting to see him tried beyond 1200m, as he appears the type who can be switched off early and wonders what he might be capable of over a couple of extra furlongs.
“He deserved something like this. He had a terrible winter like the whole stable. It’s amazing. Everytime we tried to run him in this race in the past something went wrong,” said the breathless trainer, Shane Humby.
An honourable mention must also go to Port Elizabeth raider Hear The Drums, who showed good pace before tiring late. He was beaten less than two lengths into fifth and at least picked up some prize money for his efforts.
Extract from SAhorserascing.com