NICCI GARNER: THERE were some bitter disappointments at Scottsville’s Day Of Speed on Saturday, but few could deny that the laurels in the four Grade 1 sprints went to the best horses on the day.
Well-weighted Delago Deluxe swooped late in the R600,000 Golden Horse Casino Sprint, while Ebony Flyer showed that her most recent operation to correct a breathing problem was successful in taking the R500,000 South African Fillies Sprint, beating a field of high-class speedsters and confirm trainer Justin Snaith’s opinion that “she can do any distance from 100m to 200m”.
The two juvenile races always had the potential to deliver knock-out blows. However, before the meeting trainer Vaughan Marshall made no secret of the fact that he rated All Is Secret as highly as her much-fancied stablemate Valdivia in the R500,000 Allan Robertson Championship, and she duly obliged.
The most impressive winner though was 40-1 shot Potent Power in the R500,000 Tsogo Sun Medallion. It is exciting that this “baby” has the potential to get much further and he looks a horse to follow in the 1400m Golden Horseshoe on Durban July Day and the Premier’s Champions Stakes on Gold Cup Day in July.
Trainer Dennis Drier said afterwards that tying down Potent Power’s tongue had made all the difference for the National Emblem colt, who had failed twice following his debut victory but had then found winning form again in his preparatory outing for this big date.
He attracted little attention from punters, with his stable companion Blizzard Of Ozz (8-1), voted the best turned-out runner, preferred in an open betting race where Reign As Kings topped bookmakers’ boards at 33-10, marginally shorter than Cape Royal (7-2), who had a setback in his preparation. Ziparana had his supporters at 5-1 on the evidence of his second to highly regarded Soft Falling Rain in the SA Nursery.
Jockey Kevin Shea, who had ridden much of the work leading into the race, was happy to allow Potent Power to relax more than two lengths behind early leaders Contador, Ziparana and My Jelly Bean, with Twitter and Reign As Kings also showing a bit of early speed. At the 400m marker, he edged his mount towards the standside rail and, on seeing daylight, Potent Power accelerated smartly.
At the 300m pole Contador and Ziparana started weakening, leaving My Jelly Bean in the lead, but the latter’s dreams of glory lasted only a split second as Potent Power swept past in the final 200m and galloped clear.
Top-class filly Straight Set came from the clouds to run second, 1.25 lengths back, 0.50 lengths ahead of My Jelly Bean, with the rest well beaten. Reign As Kings never got a blow in and finished seventh, while Cape Royal was one-paced throughout and finished 10th.
Said Shea: “He’s a lovely horse, he’s got all the ability and his work’s been phenomenal. He’s an easy horse to ride if you give him a chance and follow the speed. He’s got the speed to lead himself, but I just sat behind them and they fell in a hole and came back to me. When he went to the front I hadn’t asked for an effort yet. When I asked him, he went on and won well.”
Said Drier: “He showed me so much early on. I was starting to get despondent. But then something said to me, maybe this horse is choking up and you can see his last two runs with the tongue tie, it’s worked.
“A lot of people forgot what he beat last time. Charles Laird’s horse (Indaba My Children) couldn’t have won easier the other night.”
Vaughan Marshall’s previously unbeaten two-year-old filly Valdivia was all the rage at 13-10 for the Allan Robertson Championship, but had to settle for third behind her stable companion All Is Secret (75-20) and 7-2 second favourite Franny. She was squeezed out on the fence in the closing stages, but it is unlikely the interference changed the result.
For once Valdivia was off the bridle, racing in fourth at the 800m marker with Franny leading from All Is Secret and Sea Shadow.
All Is Secret drew abreast of Franny about 300m from the wire and started drawing away 200m out. She drifted in onto Franny, who shifted right and into Valdivia’s path, forcing jockey MJ Byleveld to switch the favourite around the first two. Anton Marcus straightened his mount in the final 100m and it was all over bar the shouting, with All Is Secret, ears pricked and thoroughly enjoying the encounter, beating Franny by 1.25 lengths with Valdivia staying on for third, narrowly ahead of Counter Ridge.
Said Marshall: “I’ve been blessed with these two fillies. It’s just a pity that they had to meet each other in a race of this nature, but the Grade 1s only come around once, so you’ve got to take your chances.
“If you look at the adjusted times (of All Is Secret and Valdivia) there’s not much between them. I thought Valdivia was a little unlucky. I thought she might possibly have run second but she had to switch late in the race. It’s a creditable run from her and a very good run from All Is Secret.”
All Is Secret is by Captain Al out of Secret Of Victoria and should also enjoy further.