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Picture : Silver Falcon just gets up to pip pacemaker After The Rain (Photo: Wayne Marks).

Graeme Hawkins (Gold Circle)

Silver Falcon (9/4) reeled off his fifth consecutive victory with a last-gasp win over the front-running After The Rain (11/2) in the opening race at Hollywoodbets Durbanville yesterday. With 200m to race, After The Rain appeared set to provide Gareth Van Zyl with the first winner of his current Western Cape campaign but Grant Van Niekerk produced Silver Falcon with a late lunge and the 5yo Silvano gelding got up to score by a nose. The heavily backed Wecangoallnight (5/4) was never in the hunt and trailed in a distant third.

Kythera looked the best bet on the card in the second race and her supporters never had an anxious moment. Given a perfect ride by Corne Orffer, Kythera (9/10) tracked the pacemaker Amethystic (33/1) into the home straight but once given her head, the daughter of Erupt quickened smartly to put the race to bed in a matter of strides, winning with more than three lengths to spare. Amethystic held on to second spot just ahead of the one-paced Nile The Boss.

Something akin to a good old-fashioned coup was landed in the opening leg of the Pick 6. Rod The Mod was 8/1 in the ante-post market but there was a flood of on-course support for the 5yo son of Var and he shortened to outright 3/1 favourite before the jump. Putting a shocking last run in heavy conditions firmly behind him, and relishing the fast going which prevailed at the Country Course yesterday, Rod The Mod bounced out in front and was never headed. Beerenberg (11/2) and What A State (5/1) gave chase over the final 200m, closing in hand over fist, but the winning post came in time for Richard Fourie and Rod The Mod and they held on by a rapidly diminishing margin. Off the track for almost a year, Yellowporscheroad ran an encouraging race to finish in fourth position and he should come on plenty with the benefit of this run.

Rod The Mod’s stable companion, Bonanza (16/1 to 3/1), was also the subject of a sizeable gamble in the following race but this time Richard Fourie came to deny the Paul Reeves stable. Just as Bonanza loomed large under Van Niekerk on the inside fence, Fourie’s mount Jury Duty flashed up with a well-timed finish to win going away. Adam Marcus-trained Jury Duty was winning her fourth race this calendar year and the sixth of her career, and she now retires to the Avontuur Stud.

The bomb landed in the fifth race when the Reeves-trained Crème Brulee (40/1) snatched victory in a blanket finish where less than a length covered the first five runners past the post. With 100m to race Lady Look Alike seemed the likely winner but she was swamped in the last few strides by Crème Brulee and Easy Money, with Little Miss Pink and Unconquerable Lady close on their heels. Crème Brulee’s victory capped a really good day for owner Andy Elton and the Reeves stable, whose four runners yielded two winners and two seconds.

Van Niekerk notched up his third victory in the sixth race when delivering Veronica Mars (11/2) at just the right time to collar the long-time leader Royal Invitation. Veronica Mars had not won for nearly two years but has been consistent in defeat and was not winning out of turn. The favourite My Flower Fate blew the start, losing considerable ground, and did well to finish fourth, with Lady Silvano just ahead of her in third position.

Enjoying a red-letter day, Van Niekerk rode his fourth winner in the seventh race when just getting Fallo Ancora (11/2) home narrowly ahead of stable companion Peut Etre Moi. This was a third winner for the Snaith racing team following Silver Falcon and Veronica Mars’ success earlier in the afternoon. Fitted with blinkers for the first time, Twice The Master showed some improvement to take out third placing ahead of Exceeder.

There was another head-bopping duel in the final race between the two 14/1 chances Miss New York and Winter Scout with the latter just prevailing under Louis Mxothwa by a short-head. The market leaders Lucy The Pink and Zippy Over made late headway from off the pace but had to be satisfied with minor money. Winter Scout’s victory ensured that only a percentage of the Pick 6 pool was won.