ANTON Marcus rode a terrific race to win Saturday’s R2-million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup over 1400m on Ingrid and Markus Jooste’s three-year-old, Red Barrel. (Headline photo by JC Photos).
The colt by Right Approach from Red Kaschka found running room on the inside rail going into the last 400m and ran on well to win by 0.75-lengths from Extra Zero, followed by Blaze Of Fire and Frontino Gold.
Red Barrel, in only his second career start – his first on the standside bend – found himself among the back markers when the field swung for home to chase the R1-million first prize in the fifth renewal of Mick Goss’ exciting brainchild.
Marcus found himself in a pocket among other runners with not many options to choose from, but he momentarily bided his time waiting for a clear passage to appear. The desired opening came only once, at the 600m mark, and it would turn out to be the right one as Marcus pushed Red Barrel into a gap between Shezaclubqueen and stablemate Saucy Savannah and was able to set sail for home.
In races contested by young horses one often sees a wayward runner shifting about onto your fancy and spoiling all chances of winning, but thankfully Red Barrel’s supporters didn’t have to live through this. He glided through unhindered along the rail, made rapid headway approaching the furlong pole and took on Port Elizabeth raider Blaze Of Fire, who was galloping gamely in front.
Red Barrel got the measure of Yvette Bremner’s charge with 100m to run and kept going well to hold off a spirited late challenge from Sean Tarry’s filly Extra Zero.
“The gaps were narrow and he didn’t really know what to do, but once he got going I was merely the pilot,” enthused Marcus.
“There’s pressure on once Markus Jooste tells you to buy the Emperors Cup winner,” said Mike de Kock of this R350 000 purchase who reminds him much of his sire Right Approach, trained in Dubai to win the 2004 Duty Free.
“He’s a lot like his sire, perhaps not as good but with similar niggles and just as beautiful,” said Mike.
Right Approach stands at Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud and a delighted Mary was one of the first in the winner’s enclosure, handing out congratulations to the connections of her stallion’s biggest winner so far.
Derek Brugman, representing the Joostes, said that Markus Jooste had been in a meeting with Bernard Kantor in Europe while the race was being contested, but that he was most chuffed with Red Barrel’s win, his second in the R2R Cup following Hollywoodboulevard’s success last year.
This was Mike’s first victory in the race, following seconds with Imbongi (2007), Fisani (2009), Igugu (2010) and a third with Havasha in 2009.
Red Barrel was bred by Marianne Thomson’s Ambiance Stud and is unbeaten after two starts, sporting a bank balance of 1,056-million.
Jooste’s Frontino Gold ran a cracker of a race in fourth and Mike pointed to this one as his Derby prospect, while Saucy Savannah, who took five runs to win her Maiden, showed her own talent beaten only 3.50-lengths into fifth place.
A record crowd of more than 15,000 attented the meeting.