WILD ONE went one better than last year when winning the country’spremier staying race, the Gr 1 eLan Property Group Gold Cup over 3200m, at a sun-bathed Greyville on Saturday in the hands of Anthony Delpech.
The Scott Brothers-bred six-year-old Mogok gelding provided a first Gr 1 win for passionate Hillcrest-based owner Sean Phillips and his yellow and red colours also flashed past the post in third place as he owns a share in the Joey Soma-trained Savage Wind.
The Dean Kannemeyer-trained rank outsider Balance Sheet ran a gallant second, while Dominic Zaki’s raider Storm Warning ran fourth and the Geoff Woodruff-trained Wild Ash was the first female home in fifth place.
After his narrow second in last year’s Gold Cup, Wild One was given a ten month layoff due to a soft tissue injury. De Kock said that he had come back sounder than ever and his problems appeared now to be behind him. This has been shown in his recent starts, as he finished second in both the Gr 3 Cup Trial over 1800m and the KZN Breeders Million Mile in his two comeback runs.
Kingston Mines led for the first half of the race and Savage Wind then took it up. Wild One was beautifully positioned in a handy position throughout.
Savage Wind set sail for home on the inside rail and looked full of running, but Wild One soon had his measure. Balance Sheet then appeared from nowhere and looked dangerous, but as he came alongside the blinkered Wild One the latter found another gear and surged to the line a one length winner. Balance Sheet pipped the gallant Savage Wind for second. Storm Warning stayed on well to catch Wild Ash and secure the final quartet position.
It was a third Gold Cup win for De Kock and a first for Delpech, who had finished second in the race on no fewer than six occasions and commented: “This race has eluded me for a long time and winning it today felt like winning the Durban July. Wild One’s a top stayer, perhaps the best around, now. Last year he was pulling in the race but this year he travelled beautifully. At the 1100m mark he picked up the bit, it was like he said, ‘I’m here!’ and he kicked on very well. Mike and the team had him spot-on today.”
Phillips had a dispersal sale in January and expected to get a good price for Wild One, but it was not to be. However, his decision to buy him back for R200,000 has now paid dividends.
Wild One was originally purchased for R95,000 by trainer Jeff Freedman at the KZN Yearling Sale.
Headline photo shows the head-on view of Gold Cup finish. Wild One is on the left of the picture. (Gold Circle).