Delago Deluxe back to his best in Casino Sprint
Report: South Africa, Saturday
Scottsville: Golden Horse Casino Sprint (Grade 1 hcap) 6f, turf, 3yo+
Last season's top two-year-old Delago Deluxe (Charles Laird/Anton Marcus) returned to his best to justify strong market support. He was sent to be trained in Cape Town early this season to have a crack at the Cape Guineas, but was beaten in three out of four starts and sent back to Laird.
Backed to 5-1 (from 8), he tracked stable companion Unannounced until going on a furlong out. He drifted left under pressure but had enough in reserve to hold 22-1 shot Snowdon by a length and a quarter.
Marcus said: "Isn't it amazing what Charles was able to do with this horse? Not that he went off but Charles has got him to improve."
Laird added: "This win means a lot more to me that people realise. It's nice to have him back and he has now won six out of seven for us. I know he hung across the track in the last bit but he did the same when he won the Medallion a year ago."
What A Winter, the 22-10 favourite, was disappointing and finished with only three behind him.
Also on Saturday
Scottsville: Allan Robertson Championship (Grade 1) 6f, 2yo fillies
All Is Secret (Vaughan Marshall/Anton Marcus) proved her trainer right when leading a furlong out and coming home ears pricked to beat Franny a length and a quarter with the winner's stable companion, hot favourite Valdivia, three-quarters of a length back third.
Marshall had been saying for months that All Is Secret was the better of the pair but most observers preferred the evidence of the racecourse.
Marshall said: "There is not all that much between them and Valdivia might have finished second if she hadn't had to switch late."
Marcus described the winner as "a very smart filly," adding: "I went a bit on the early side but she was good enough to carry me through."
Scottsville: Tsogo Sun Medallion (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 2yo
Potent Power (Dennis Drier/Kevin Shea) served up a 40-1 shock when leading a furlong out to beat the only filly in the race, Straight Set, by a length and a quarter.
Shea said: "I sat behind them but they fell into a hole and came back to me. At that stage I hadn't asked him for an effort. When I did ask him, he went on and won well."
Drier added: "He showed so much early on that I was starting to get despondent when he was beaten in his next two. I thought that maybe he was choking so I put on a tongue tie and it has worked."
Scottsville: South African Fillies Sprint (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 3yo+ f/m
A second wind operation seems to have done the trick for Ebony Flyer (Justin Snaith/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) who produced an amazing burst of speed inside the last half furlong to beat Welwitschia by a comfortable length despite drifting to 11-2 (from 2).
Last season's Cape Fillies Guineas winner carries the colours of Barry Irwin's Team Valor and is scheduled to step back up to a mile in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Clairwood on June 9.
Odds-on favourite Princess Victoria raced towards the outside, came under pressure two furlongs out and was unable to quicken. The ground seemed noticeably slower on this side of the course and in the Golden Horse Casino Sprint 40 minutes later all the jockeys made for the near side.