A thrilling head-bobbing, four-horse duel had the huge J&B Met day crowd on its feet and screaming at the finish of the Grade 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship. At the line, Gulf Storm under Corne Orffer got the verdict by the proverbial whisker – creating an exotic-bet upset at 12-1.
Brutal Storm (4-1) and Donovan Dillon were just 0.10 lengths behind, with 7-2 favourite Carry On Alice (S’manga Khumalo) 0.30 lengths further back and 20-1 outsider Tevez in fourth, just 0.05 lengths adrift.
After the thrilling climax to the 1000m sprint, Orffer was full of praise for his charge and the yard of trainer Brett Crawford: “We knew he had a Grade 1 in him. He is always thereabouts in the big races. We put the blinkers on and it gave him the chance. This is my first Grade 1 win and I couldn’t have ridden it for better people.”
Before the race, champion trainer Sean Tarry had commented that his champion sprinter Carry On Alice had faltered in her previous start due to a tardy start. So he must have been pleased when his big-hearted girl got away on terms.
Guiness was to the fore in the early stages, with Carry On Alice, Champery, Gulf Storm, Harry Lime, Fly By Night, Tevez and Brutal Force all well in touch.
With 300m to go, Khumalo gave Carry On Alice her head and she accelerated like a winner. The first to go in pursuit was Tevez, with Gulf Storm and Brutal Force on his haunches.
Carry On Alice tired in the closing strides and four heads lunged for the line as one.
It took a close look at the photo-finish picture to confirm that Gulf Storm had nabbed the honours in one of South Africa’s most prestigious races.
The five-year-old Gulf Storm (by Sail From Seattle out of Royal Drummer by Kilconnel) has now won eight times from 23 starts. His previous best effort was victory in the Listed In Full Flight Stakes at Scottsville in April 2015.