Defending Gold Cup champion Nebraas topped the weights for South African horse racing’s most prestigious staying event when first entries were revealed on Monday.
Trainer Sean Tarry’s charge, an unraced reserve for the recent Durban July, has been allotted 60kg by the handicappers and drew stall gate No 7 for the 3,200m marathon at Greyville on 30 July.
Tarry was very disappointed that Nebraas didn’t crack the July nod as he felt his five-year-old was in good nick coming off three wins in five races since his last rest spell. The son of hot sire Vercingetorix was a well-backed favourite in the 2021 Gold Cup when he got home by a quarter of a length under champion jockey Lyle Hewitson.
A total of 33 horses have been entered for the 2022 Gold Cup, which is sponsored by Marshalls World Of Sport. A maximum field of 15 will go to post, with three reserves carded.
Nebraas has a merit rating of 118, the same as Mike de Kock-trained SA Derby victor Aragosta, who is down to carry 57.5kg as he is still a three-year-old. Aragosta was quietly fancied by many pundits for the July, but finished in midfield after the slow-run 2200m contest. The extra distance of the Gold Cup will suit him.
Gold Cup runners
The second top weight, 59kg, goes to Shangani, from the stable of leading trainer Paul Peter. Shangani has an MR of 116 and is a winner of six of 11 starts, including the Java Stakes and the Aquanaut Handicap at Turffontein. He recently got the better of Nebraas in a 2400m Pinnacle Stakes at the same course.
Also on 57.5kg are Justin Snaith’s One Way Traffic, a very impressive winner of the 2200m “Consolation July” on July day, and another of Tarry’s three entries, Shango. In late-May, the latter won the 2400m Lonsdale Stirrup Cup at Greyville, a traditional Gold Cup pointer.
Tarry’s third hopeful is Black Thorn, another July day winner – of the 3000m DStv Gold Vase, perhaps the most important prep race for the big one.
Marshalls World Of Sport Gold Cup (Grade 3) 3,200m R750,000:
(draw, name, weight, MR, trainer)
1 Smoking Hot 54 100 Candice Dawson
2 Follow The Star 54 93 Glen Kotzen
3 PayBackTheMoney 54 90 Nathan Kotzen
4 Chewbaca 54 96 Andre Nel
5 Monashada 54 100 Kumaran Naidoo
6 Spring Fling 54 96 Glen Kotzen
7 Nebraas 60 118 Sean Tarry
8 Electric Surge 54 72 Robbie Hill
9 Black Thorn 54 100 Sean Tarry
10 Crimson King 56.5 108 Glen Kotzen
11 Space News 54 64 Carl Hewitson
12 Aragosta 57.5 118 Mike de Kock
13 Chollima 54 102 Glen Kotzen
14 Shango 57.5 111 Sean Tarry
15 Imperial Ruby 55.5 104 Corne Spies
16 Lamborghreeni 54 74 Paul Peter
17 Decorated 54 100 Frank Robinson
18 Flying First Class 54 78 David Nieuwenhuizen
19 Shangani 59 116 Paul Peter
20 Out Of Your League 54.5 102 Fabian Habib
21 Salvator Mundi 54 100 Justin Snaith
22 One Way Traffic 57.5 111 Justin Snaith
23 Silver Maria 54 95 Dean Kannemeyer
24 Rex Union 54 86 Dean Kannemeyer
18-10 Nebraas, One Way Traffic
11-2 Black Thorn
6-1 Shangani, Aragosta
14-1 and upwards the others