BRETT Crawford, on 99 winners for the season and bidding for his fourth Champions’ Cup victory in six years, seems to agree with the bookmakers’ assessment that his Gold Challenge winner Undercover Agent (Anton Marcus, photo) is the pick of his three contenders for the World Sports Betting R1 million Grade 1 over 1800m at Greyville on Saturday. But, possibly significantly, he has niggling reservations about the colt lasting home over the final 200m.

He explained: “Undercover Agent is the one with the scope for improvement, and so far he keeps improving, but there is a little question mark in my mind about the trip. He is a big strong horse and I think he will get it eventually but whether this 1 800m comes a little bit too early for him I’m not sure. That’s why a good draw (he will start from pen three) was imperative. Indeed we weren’t going to run him unless he drew well. If he does get the trip, he will be the horse to beat.”

Crawford, successful with Jackson in 2013 and Futura the following year as well as with Sail South 12 months ago, also runs last year’s winner (Bernard Fayd’Herbe) and Captain America (Corne Orffer). His trio are all rated 120, 2.5kg and more ahead of the rest of the field.

He said: “All three are in great form and doing exceptionally well. Captain America has come on since the Gold Challenge (his first race since the Met). He had a little setback at the beginning of the Durban season – he had an issue behind, we couldn’t put any pressure on him and we had to give him time to get over it. That’s why he went into the Gold Challenge without a prep run but he has definitely come on since. He looks amazing and you can expect another bold show from him.

“As Sail South has got older he seems to have relished going a bit further and he won it well last year so you would have to think that he has no issues with the Greyville 1800m. After running well over the mile of the Gold Challenge he is definitely going to appreciate the extra furlong on Saturday. All three have run under lights before so that won’t be an issue for them either.”

-Michael Clower/Gold Circle.
Photo: Chase Liebenberg.

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