BETTING WORLD CAPE FLYING CHAMPIONSHIP (Grade 1)
Kenilworth, Turf, 1000m
24 January 2015
Favoured to bring up a century of Grade 1 winners for trainer Mike de Kock, three-year-old filly Alboran Sea duly obliged Saturday at Kenilworth, stealing a thrilling victory in the Grade 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship.
Assisted by a fierce tail-wind, the three-year-old daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar disputed the lead with fellow out-of-town visitor Trip Tease (Trippi) and having dispatched that adversary at the furlong mark, she looked set for an easy victory. However, local colt Captain Of All (Captain Al) unleashed a powerful challenge up the centre and he relentlessly reeled her in with every stride. In a driving finish, the pair crossed the line as one, but the photo showed the filly had held on by a nostril. She flirted with the track record, running the five furlong distance in a time just 0.07 seconds off the mark established by Muscatt (Victory Moon) in 2012.
This was the second top level success for the Australian-bred, following her victory in the Allan Robertson Fillies Championship on just her second outing as a juvenile and subsequently was denied a Grade 1 double when going down by a neck in the Grade 1 Golden Slipper. She entered this race off a slightly disappointing second behind Fly By Night (Jet Master) in last month’s Grade 2 Southern Cross Stakes but exacted revenge here, her conqueror finishing off the board.
“Things didn’t map out as we planned,” said winning jockey Weichong Marwing. “We thought Trip Tease would make the pace but his speed wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t as far back as I wanted. I thought Captain Of All got me on the wire.”
The strapping Miss has now added her name to an honours roll which also features another brilliant Australian-bred speedster, the Danehill mare Laisserfaire, who is amongst an elite group of back-to-back winners of this event.
Remarked the winning trainer: “We were forced by AHS red tape to send both her and Pine Princess (Captain Al) down to Cape Town early. I’ve never done this before, but Brett Crawford and his staff at Phillipi welcomed us with open arms, so thanks to him for accommodating us. She’s certainly enjoyed going down to the beach and now I can see why horses do so well, it really seems to clear their heads!”
Alboran Sea is clearly maturing into a formidable speed machine and her trainer indicated she will return to her Highveld base for a crack at the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint at Turffontein in the Autumn.
“We’ll then take in one or two races, the Fillies Sprint at Scottsville, but it will not be more than one or two more starts and then I’m going to have to talk nicely to Mother Mary and have her on a plane out of here!” De Kock added.
Alboran Sea has handsomely rewarded her owners Mary Slack and veteran owner Michael Javett, this latest victory elevating her into the millionaire ranks with earnings of just over R1.3million.
She is one of eleven Grade 1 winners for Coolmore stalwart Rock Of Gibraltar, who has enjoyed tremendous success in South Africa. In addition to Alboran Sea, he is also the sire of such tip top local performers as Seventh Rock, Europa Point, Gibraltar Blue, Perana and Arcetri Pink, to mention but a few.
Alboran Sea is an own sister to Summerhill Ready To Run graduate, Trafalgar Legacy, a winner of his sole South African outing for Newbury Racing, prior to his export to Pat Shaw in Singapore, where he scored four times and also ran third in the Group 1 Singapore Derby.
The dam, Lady’s Light (Toolighttoquit), is an unraced half-sister to multiple American stakes winner Twosies Answer (Two’s A Plenty), who produced champion American two-year-old and Breeders Cup Juvenile hero Answer Lively (Lively One). Grandam Lady’s Answer, likewise never raced, but is a half-sister to successful Canadian stallion Briartic, a tough as teak customer who won 19 of 63 starts.
Lady’s Light produced a colt by European and Australian champion sprinter Starspangledbanner in 2014 and has returned to the son of Choisir.
Extracts from Racing South Africa-Gold Circle/Kenilworth Racing (p)