desert links horseDesert Links
(Heather Morkel)

South Africa’s richest and most prestigious race for stayers, the R1,200,000 Canon Gold Cup, was not by any stretch of the imagination a vintage one, but then it usually pays to follow proven stayers over the Greyville two miles and all of the first three past the post fell squarely into that category.

The European Bloodstock News reports that Desert Links had finished a very good fifth in the Vodacom Durban July and proved that Saturday’s two mile journey was much more to his liking.

A son of the tall, athletic, Summerhill Stud-based Kahal, who will stand the 2008 breeding season at a fee of R50,000, Desert Links probably had the best form of any runner going into the race, having won the Listed Cup Trial at Clairwood over 1800 metres on his penultimate start.

Kahal, who has proved himself a very useful sire in six seasons at stud in South Africa, is out of the Green Desert mare Just a Mirage. Kahal won eight races from two to six in the UK, France and the UAE and has produced eight Graded race winners in South Africa to date.

The dam of Desert Links, Selborne Park (Home Guard) won five races and was Gr.1-placed. Her dam, Godille (Bolkonski), was a winner in France and also produced Siren Song (Coastal), the dam of the Gr.3 winner, Mzwilili (Muhtafal), winner of the Gr.3 (then) Pretty Polly Stakes.

Trained by former Hong Kong Champion jockey, Basil Marcus, who has already established himself at the forefront of South African trainers, Desert Links has now won seven of 19 starts, for total earnings of R1,282,250.