A flying Cosmic Highway managed to win by a neck despite looking to still be behind eventual runner up Countdown just short of the line. (Picture: Wayne Marks)
On Sunday at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Cosmic Highway, a five-year-old Gimmethegreenlight gelding bred by Maine Chance Farms and owned by Khaya Stables, produced a flying finish in the Merchants over 1200m to just get up and win by a neck under Craig Zackey.
The Glen Kotzen-trained Countdown had looked the likely winner and ensured an exacta for progeny of Gimmethegreenlight.
The Brett Crawford-trained favourite Surjay (Vercingetorix) still does not have bold black type, but for the fifth time in his career this weight for age Gr 1 runner up finished in the top three in a stakes race.
The fancied Peter Muscutt-trained KZN horse Quasiforsure (Quasillo) was a 0,90 length fourth.
The Eric Sands-trained rank outsider Wecangoallnight (Gimmethegreenlight) finished fifth, beaten 1,30 lengths.
Cosmic Highway looked to have been left with too much to do to catch Countdown, who had kicked into what looked like a winning lead.
Commentator Alistair Cohen actually gave it to Countdown such was the speed with which Cosmic Highway flashed past the post.
Kannemeyer said, “I’ve been watching racing at Kenilworth for 45 years and I was quite confident he had got it. The new commentators will learn the angle at Kenilworth because it can by tricky. Cosmic Highway loves that Kenilworth six furlongs. He annihilated that horse Trip Of Fortune in the Gr 2 Diadem Stakes last year. He loves to come from off the pace and he can turn it on. He came in with a nice galloping weight in the Merchants. Craig told me last time when he gave him one or two backhanders he didn’t like it and then when he put his hands down and rode him with the hands then he started to fly. So he told me before the race he is going to keep the stick off this horse and that is what he did. He pulled him out and he said ‘I just picked him up with the hands and he was loving it.’”
Dean continued, “He ran third in the Cape Guineas and was always in the top 5 of his generation. At the end of the last Summer Season he didn’t take any interest and we had to geld him. I took him to Durban and gave him a long break. It took him a long time to get rid of all that testosterone, but in his second run at HWB Greyville I could see he was now starting to focus again . When I brought him back to Cape Town he ran a very good race in the Matchem. I could see now he was really putting it together again.”
Dean will keep his options open with Cosmic Highway.
He said he had come out of Sunday’s race very well and might enter him in the Gr 1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate as well as the Gr 1 Cape Flying Championship, although he admitted 1000m was a touch on the sharp side for him.
He will be entering Gimme A Prince in the King’s Plate.
He said this top class Khaya Stables homebred gelding by Gimmethegreenlight, who won two Gr 1 sprints as a four-year-old last season, had never been easy to train and had to be given a lot of love and attention.
“Fortunately, he has a very patient owner. I always felt he would get a mile. He was flying at the finish in the Drill Hall and in the Matchem another few strides he beats Charles Dickens. We wanted to run him in the Green Point because that would have told us whether he got the mile, but he suffered a setback. I just needed another week, but couldn’t run him there. So he will go straight in to the King’s Plate. We will see how his training program goes.”