Winning Leap - 3000m Gold Bowl (Grade 2)
(Photo : JC Photographics / Summerhill Stud)
LE COUP D’OR : CONFUSION REIGNS
For the first time in living memory, the two Gold Cups that really count are being staged within the same week. Yesterday saw the running of the Royal Ascot version, highlight of the greatest week in European racing, and for the past four years, domain of Solskjaer’s younger brother, Yeats. Because of the upheaval the World Football Cup has imposed upon local racing, our own Gold Cup (sponsored by Canon), is to be staged on the 26th June, as opposed to the first Saturday in August, where it’s been since time immemorial. It is the staying championship of South Africa, and its winner is almost invariably crowned the Equus Awards Stayer of the Year. This year’s renewal is remarkable for the fact that for the first time (ever, as far as we can make out), there’s the potential of a three year old winning it.
There was a time when the English Derby, staged over 1,5 miles in June, was considered the sternest of tests for a three year old, and it was never thought advisable to run a horse much further in his classic year. More recently, the Australians have taught us it’s possible to run three year olds in their greatest staying race, the Melbourne Cup as early as November.
And so it’s happened that this year, we have our own top three year old engaged in the event in the form of Winning Leap. Ordinarily, we’d be concerned about his ability to get the trip, being the son of a world class miler in Labeeb, out of a Northern Guest mare descending from one of the Aga Khan’s oldest families, the one which produced Nasrullah and Royal Charger as well as the flying filly, Mumtaz Mahal. Another really good sort to come from this family was the European Champion Miler, Kalamoun, like Nasrullah and Royal Charger an outstanding stallion in his own right, but unfortunate to die prematurely.
Winning Leap’s credentials over the trip are well known, as he charged off with the laurels in Johannesburg’s Gold Bowl (Gr.2), over 3000m in May, so there’s every reason to expect that he’ll get the trip next Saturday, unless the handicapper has “fixed” him with weight once and for all. Winner of his last three starts by a combined 9.75 lengths, he is up there at the top of most bookmaker’s boards, as matters stand.
We quote from a recent article posted by Charl Pretorius on Racingweb.
His trainer, Dominic Zaki said “He’s not much to look at - he resembles a little camel, but he’s got a big stride and some acceleration and he stays forever and a day. He’s improved with maturity and there is much more to come. We’ll restrict him to long distances; there is no reason to change what is clearly his game. Yes, the Gold Cup is his mission, he’s a top horse and we may go for the Gold Vase on 3 July over 2800m on his way to the Cup.”
“Another impressive graduate of the winner factory at Summerhill Stud, Winning Leap fetched R85,000 at the 2008 Ready To Run Sale. Breeder Mick Goss would call him a horse “stolen” from the sales ring”.
CANON GOLD CUP (Grade 1)
Greyville, 3200m, 26 June 2010
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Mike de Kock
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Mike de Kock