Clairwood, Turf, 1200m
12 July 2014

David Thiselton
David Thiselton

The Mike Bass-trained filly Fly By Night closed a chapter in South African racing yesterday when winning the last ever feature event at Clairwood Racecourse, the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint over 1200m, under a well-judged ride by Anthony Delpech. It was fitting that two such fine professionals combined to win the big race on this historic day.

It is typical of Capetonian Bass to get continual improvement out of his horses and the four-year-old Jet Master filly looked an absolute picture going down to the start, while Delpech bravely squeezed through a narrow gap on the rail late in the race to earn more than just his riding fee.

Fly By Night went into the race as just a two-time winner, but the tall rangy filly had shown in her penultimate start when failing by a head to catch the brilliant Via Africa in the Grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint over 1200m at Scottsville, that she had blossomed into a classy sort.

Grade 1 Computaform Sprint winner, the Yvette Bremner-trained Copper Parade, started favourite at 33/10 with Here Comes Billy next best at 4/1 and Fly By Night backed into 9/2. The fancied Grade 1 Golden Horse Casino Sprint winner Normanz unfortunately had to be scratched after injuring himself in the saddling enclosure.

Fly By Night had a good tow throughout from Happy Forever on the outside and looked the winner when managing to squeeze through in the final 300m. However, she was required to find an extra kick to repel Copper Parade and the Mark Dixon-trained Showmetheway, who both ran on strongly down the centre.

They finished in that order with the consistent Garth Puller-trained Midnight Run fourth ahead of the Joe Ramsden-trained Happy Forever.

Fly By Night is owned by Markus Jooste, Bryn Ressell and Marsh Shirtliff and was bred by Patricia Devine Investments. Mike Bass last won this race two years ago with What A Winter.

Mercury Sprint (Grade 1)
Final Results

# Horse Jockey Trainer Kg Draw Lengths
1 FLY BY NIGHT A Delpech Mike Bass 57.5 13 0.0
2 COPPER PARADE P Strydom Yvette Bremner 60.0 4 0.5
3 SHOWMETHEWAY B Lerena Mark Dixon 60.0 2 0.8
4 MIDNIGHT RUN A Mgudlwa Garth Puller 60.0 5 1.8
5 HAPPY FOREVER S Randolph Joey Ramsden 60.0 11 3.5
6 CASUAL VAR *D Dillon Justin Snaith 60.0 8 3.7
7 DOLOMITI I Sturgeon Sean Tarry 57.5 3 4.2
8 BARBOSA S Cormack Dennis Drier 60.0 9 4.2
9 MIKE'S CHOICE K Shea Michael Roberts 60.0 12 5.7
10 HERE COMES BILLY S Khumalo Weiho Marwing 60.0 7 5.9
11 INSEARCHOFTHESUN K Latham S Janse van Rensburg 60.0 6 7.2
12 REGAL EAGLE M Yeni Duncan Howells 60.0 1 7.9
13 NOVEMBER RAIN M Byleveld Justin Snaith 60.0 10 21.7

Extracts from Gold Circle