Lightly raced for a horse aged five – he has only run 13 times – he has only been beaten twice over this course and distance and one of those losses was in this year’s Computaform Sprint, in which his headstrong temperament was possibly to blame.
He came to the races in the right mood in October in his last run and never looked like losing. He kept galloping relentlessly to beat Valberg by 1.75 lengths, with Magico 2.50 lengths further back in fourth and Midnight Serenade fading late.
Smart Design meets Magico, his main threat here, on only 2kg worse terms and on paper, should confirm the form, particularly because he enjoys the sting out of the ground.
Magico was making his return to competition following a layoff of nearly 10 months that day and was entitled to need the run. That might also have applied to his effort in the Golden Loom Handicap, when he finished like a bullet but failed by two lengths to catch Copper Parade. Jade Bay (4kg worse off) and Midnight Serenade were behind him that day and should not turn the tables.
Paul Peter’s charge will be getting fitter all the while and if he returns to the kind of form that saw him run second to Shea Shea in the Computaform Sprint last year, he could finally get back into the winner’s enclosure.
Race 5 is a R95,000 Conditions Plate over 1800m and four of the Summer Cup runners will renew rivalry.
Killua Castle did best of them in that 2000m race, finishing a 2.30-length fifth behind his stable companion Yorker. He will probably prefer this 200m shorter distance and could confirm the form with Wagner (seventh), Smanjemanje and Glorious Jet.
Smanjemanje did not allow Wagner to get to his preferred racing position in front and given he is not a horse who likes to act as the hare, it was inevitable he would run out of steam late. He looked a picture in the parade ring that day and with different riding tactics, could do much better.
However, they might all have to play second fiddle to Rock Cocktail, who comes back to competition as a gelding after running well to some top sorts, including his highly regarded stablemate Vercingetorix and older Jackson, last season.