(Photo : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)
THE EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN CUP
Turffontein, Turf, 1400m
5 November 2011
Sporting PostSean Tarry’s Royal Academy colt Verrochio stepped into the R2million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup limelight with a scintillating win at Turffontein on 20 October. It’s difficult to recall when last a race has generated as much excitement and discussion as this restricted feature and it is a real tribute to the efforts of all involved.
It just goes to show again. Great ideas and good concepts are half the marketing battle won. The Ready To Run Cup to be run at Turffontein on 5 November is on everybody’s lips and the race selection panel has a thankless task facing it in determining the final field. With the NHRA, Phumelela and Gold Circle all represented though, there should be little provincial bias or hometown decisions and many of the candidates have in any event already named themselves.
And fireworks we can expect as it is probably also no coincidence that this race will be run on the day in November when we used to set off fireworks to celebrate the arrest of Guy Fawkes - who was caught guarding a cache of explosives under the House Of Lords some three centuries ago.
Did we see the Cup winner on Thursday? One doesn’t want to get too excited about a maiden win but Sean Tarry’s colt was breathtaking over the mile trip. And he beat a Mike de Kock colt who must be showing something at home if the generous money at both his career starts is anything to go by. Borodino’s rider Anthony Delpech admitted from the second box afterwards that he had hit the front a little early after Hurricane Jo had folded upfront, and that he was disappointed that the grey colt had not won. How good is he really though? His sire Daylami has left our shores and didn’t exactly set the world alight in his short time with us. Time will tell, but Verocchio won’t be hanging around and will do his own talking it seems.
Verocchio is a smashing chestnut who looks like he needs a galloping track to show his mettle. So his performance on the tightish inner track was exemplary as he showed maturity and heart as he came to fetch the long-striding leader. This was a lifting of his game in dazzling style after that rather inauspicious debut at The Vaal over 1200m, when slow away and coughing. But pack the excuses away for now - they really are not required.
Jockey Robbie Fradd said afterwards that Verocchio’s ‘penny hasn’t dropped yet’. He suggested menacingly that when the coin does drop, ‘we will see a real racehorse.’ That is fighting talk from a man who has ridden good horses all over the globe. Adding to the moment was the presence on course of the winning connections - the Papageorgious’ who hail from the Congo and who aren’t going home immediately. Nothing to do with a certain feature race in two weeks time!
Verrochio was at a rather humble 69th position on the 84 strong Ready To Run Cup log published prior to his win last week. Positions are determined by merit rating alone but the final field is by invitation and at the discretion of the panel. He surely looks a shoe-in to make the final starting line-up at this point in time.