The majority of Gold Cup winners –– whether it be Cockspur or Sandy Lane –– over the years have done so coming from off the pace, but last Saturday’s winner Sayler’s Creek brought a new dimension to winning the region’s most prestigious race.
Ridden by Barbadian jockey Rico Walcott who rides primarily at Woodlands Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, Sayler’s Creek went into the lead from the off and it was clear that Walcott’s intention was “if you want to beat me you have to catch me”.
However, in the early stages of the 1,800 metres event, Sayler’sCreek was not alone, as he had the Rickey Walcott-partnered Sirius Black for company when they came down the homestretch for the first time.
The pair were followed by Just A Fashion, Daunting David, the odds-on favourite Gentleman’s Kitten, and Indiano Jones.
By going to the front immediately after starter Mark Batson sent them on their way, race fans might have felt that Rico was setting the pace with Sayler’s Creek for stablemate and the Patrick Husbands-ridden Gentleman’s Kitten, who was the clear favourite to win the race.
It was clear that Sayler’s Creek took to the track quickly and was having no problems with its circular nature, but the same cannot be said for stablemate Gentleman’s Kitten who was seen having a problem adjusting to its short and sharp turns.
As a matter of fact, Gentleman’s Kitten only got down to serious business in the straight homestretch, and although he was closing fast the finish pole came too soon for him.
Sayler’s Creek and Sirius Black took the turn by the paddock bend almost together, but shortly after they straightened up Rico sent into the lead and as the saying goes “it was all over bar the shouting”.
The five-year-old went on to win a shade cleverly with jockey Rico Walcott “saluting” the packed Grand Stand posse as the pair passed the winning post.
The Sir David Seale owned, Liz Deane-trained, William Twiston-Davies-ridden Daunting David, stayed on well to finish second, while Knight Rider –– one of two creoles in the race –– trained by Edward Walcott Jr. and with Antonio Bishop aboard, did well to finish third.
Another disappointment in the race was Just A Fashion, ridden by Jalon Samuel and trained by Richard Deane. Owned by the Aysha Syndicate, this four-year-old, who had won his last three starts and was installed second favourite at odds of 7/2, finished sixth, while the 2013 Gold Cup winner Aristodemus placed seventh.