RUSSIAN ROCK WINS CAPE GUINEAS
In one of the biggest upsets ever in the Cape Guineas, Russian Rock flew up late to catch Linebacker to win the Grade 1 race over 1600m at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Russian Rock, trained by Dean Kannemeyer and ridden by Grant Behr, paid R80.40 for a win and R18.90 a place. The son of Pomodoro beat Linebacker (20-1) by 0.20 lengths with Rascallion (33-10) another 1.25-lengths back in third and Jet Dark (33-1) in fourth.
Unbeaten Malmoos, trained by Mike de Kock, went off favourite at 14-10 but after sitting second for much of the race, soon came under pressure and failed to find any extra. He finished ninth, beaten 4.35 lengths.
Despite the price of his horse, Kannemeyer did not make him a hopeless cause when interviewed prior to the race. “Russian Rock had an excellent prep run up the straight. I hope there’s a good pace on and we will find out where he stands with the best three-year-olds around,” he said.
Vaughan Marshall saddled five runners and as expected it was Seeking The Stars who found his customary place at the head of the field with Malmoos tugging hard in second on his outside.
Behr had Russian Rock midfield and when they turned for home the colt sat some four lengths off the pace. It was clear halfway up the straight that both Seeking The Stars and Malmoos had little left in their respective tanks and suddenly Linebacker and Donovan Dillon swooped into the lead down the outside.
At the same time Russian Rock had been switched out to get a clear run but then Linebacker shifted in, which forced Behr to ease his mount. Just as Linebacker looked to have the race wrapped up and give Marshall a sixth Cape Guineas crown, Russian Rock got into full stride and he flew up to snare the leader on the post.
“The main task was to get him settled because he can be quite strong,” said Behr. “I had him in a nice spot but even then he was still on that bit.
“But eventually when the pace started to pick up he settled down nicely.
“He should have won quite easily, I thought. But I got crossed in the straight and I had to switch him. He eventually he got going again after all that.
Interestingly, going into the race Marshall, Kannemeyer and De Kock had all won this race five times and of the three, you wouldn’t have given Kannemeyer much hope of edging ahead of the other two. But, as he said: “I still hold the record.”