He then was airlifted to Joburg to contest the Grade 1 SA Nursery over 1160m but was outpaced by Willow Magic. Red Ray was rested for the balance of his two-year-old career and made an impressive start as a three-year-old when winning the Grade 3 Cape Classic over 1400m at Kenilworth, despite having to overcome No 11 draw.
The son of Western Winter started a short-priced favourite in the R2-million Lanzarac Ready To Run Cup over the same course and distance but after hitting the front early in the straight, he was tackled by Captain America, who went away to win by 1.25 lengths.
As a result Red Ray was easy to back at 5-1 for the Grade 1 Cape Guineas. He again hit the front early in the straight and despite a gutsy effort, was run out of it by both Elusive Gold and Captain America, although he was beaten just 0.85 lengths by the winner.
The L’Oramarins Queen’s Plate was Red Ray’s next target but he did not get into the race and finished ninth, beaten 4.15 lengths.
It does appear 1600m is too far for Red Ray at this stage of his career, especially in top company, but now the connections have come back to 1000m in the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship at Kenilworth tomorrow.
It is an interesting move but there is a dearth of top sprinters in the country at present and there are some doubts about last year’s runner-up, Via Africa. The four-year-old filly has had a few health issues and some pundits were surprised she took her place in the field.
Trainer Duncan Howells says all seems well with the filly but only the race will tell.
Anton Marcus will ride Red Ray again and at odds of 4-1, the pair could provide better value than Via Africa. As a three-year-old Red Ray carries just 56.5kg, although Via Africa remains the best-handicapped runner.
Another runner to look at is Muscatt. The Victory Moon colt began his career in Port Elizabeth and won his first two starts by a total of 17.75 lengths. He suffered a shock defeat in a Graduation Plate over 1000m but pulled up with blood in his mouth. Since relocating to the Mike Bass yard in Cape Town, Muscatt has won twice and finished second in his third start there. He is decent and could finish in the money, with Bernard Fayd’Herbe in the irons.
Divine Jet has loads of talent but is unsound. If in a running mood he could well win this event.
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