desert_linksDesert Links
(Gold Circle)

The R1, 2 million Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) is many a racefans’ favourite meeting of the year and the big race itself is always a fascinating contest.

David Thiselton reports that Mike de Kock broke his duck in the famous staying race last year with Thundering Star and has a chance of following up with joint top weight this year, Equal Image. This grey seven-year-old thrives on the coast at this time of the year and has also had a recent wind operation. He has clearly benefited from the procedure, having won his last two over 2800m and 3000m respectively, the latter being in the Grade 2 Gold Vase at Greyville, although he was probably lucky to get away with his hanging antics in that race. He unfortunately has the widest draw of all to overcome on Saturday.

The favourite is the Basil Marcus-trained Desert Links who has a superb record at Greyville having won three times and finished an excellent running-on fifth in the Vodacom Durban July. Bred and raised at Summerhill Stud by the late Sheikh Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud, the son of Kahal has a fine draw of six, and has done well over the trip before, although he does have something of a bridesmaids tag over staying trips.

Mike Bass has four entries and the most interesting of them is undoubtedly Durban July fourth-placed, River Jetez. The four-year-old travels in a similarly relaxed manner to her full brother, Pocket Power, in her races and won last season’s Grade Two Gold Circle Oaks over 2400m. In the Durban July she was sent for home too early and it told in the final stages, but she was rallying at the line.