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Dave Shawe is clearly overjoyed as he leads in Dyce together with his Vaal-based raiding trainer Lucky Houdalakis (Picture: Wayne Marks)

Lucky Houdalakis was disappointed Isivunguvungu was scratched at the start of the Gr 1 World Pool Cape Flying Championship.

Asked whether he reckoned his Cape Flying winner Dyce would have beaten Isivunguvungu, he replied, “Why not, we’ve beaten him before.”

It is a little known fact that when Dyce won the Gr 2 Epol Umkhomazi Stakes over 1200m for two-year-olds at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Gold Cup day in 2021, Isivunguvungu was beaten seven lengths into eighth place.

Isivunguvungu has obviously improved a lot since then.

However, Lucky, speaking on behalf of Dyce, said, “You see the thing is they all became famous while I was standing in the stable. I was recovering and they were in the headlines, they were winning everything. Saturday was going to be the first time I’ve met them (since my two-year-old season). They were having fun, but now I’m back. Now they’ve got to deal with me as well.”

Lucky also mentioned how heartbreaking the Isivunguvungu incident must have been for the owners, the Hollywood Syndicate, not to mention trainer Peter Muscutt.

The Equus Champion Sprinter appeared to rush the gate and he reportedly cut himself on a rivet.

However, Dyce’s subsequent 0,40 length defeat of the Gr 1-winning sprinter Thunderstruck has created a lot of intrigue.

This is particularly in light of the high regard both the handicappers and the expert analysts hold Dyce in.

The handicappers awarded Dyce a 130 merit rating after his 4,25 length demolition of the field in the Gr 2 New Turf Carriers Merchants over 1200m on Betway Summer Cup day.

For Saturday’s win at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, respected analyst Karel Miedema awarded Dyce a 115 Ability Rating (AR) on his Raceform website, the highest AR he gave for the whole WSB Cape Town Met meeting.

To put that into perspective, the highest AR Karel has given this season is 117 for Sandringham Summit and the highest AR he ever gave Charles Dickens was 117.

The highest AR Karel has ever given Isivunguvungu, who is also merit rated 130, is 114.

The Gr 1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint is going to have a big build up, because it is going to answer the questions being asked i.e. would Dyce have won on Saturday had Isivunguvungu been running?

The Computaform, like the Cape Flying, is over 1000m.

However, Lucky believes Dyce is even better over 1200m, which is the trip of the other two remaining open Gr 1 sprints in the country per season, the Golden Horse Sprint and the Mercury Sprint.

Isivunguvungu is undoubtedly better over 1000m, despite following his Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint win last year with victory in the Mercury Sprint.

Dyce’s Cape Flying win was the culmination of a tremendous training feat.

He never raced as a three-year-old due to a fracture of the fetlock that kept him off the race track for 15 months.

Lucky recalled him to have been intermittently lame at the beginning of that season.

This prompted him to have Dyce x-rayed and the fracture was discovered.

Dyce races today with a screw in his one fetlock. The screw holds the fetlock together.

In his first comeback Dyce won second time out and then placed twice over 1475m amd 1400m respectively, including being runner up in the Grand Heritage.

Dyce did a tendon when running fourth in the latter 1400m event.

He was then off for nine months.

In his second comeback he has not looked like a horse who has had two serious injuries.

The five-year-old has only had 14 career starts due to those injuries.

The second of the injuries is why he did not stay in Cape Town to run in the Gr 2 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes.

Lucky said, “He has just come back from a tendon and I feel the tracks down there are too heavy for him. Horses with tendons and heavy tracks is not a good mixture.”

The Vaal has a light track that is ideal to work Dyce on and Lucky keeps him to that track.

Lucky always knew Dyce was a sprinter and he has stuck to sprints in his second comeback.

He added, “He gets iced everyday and time heals everything.”

Lucky said that if you gave them enough time and made sure it was properly healed before coming back, horses were able to come back the way Dyce had i.e. nobody would ever believe he had done a tendon before and that he had a screw in his fetlock.

Lucky’s other philosophy is to let the horse dictate the program rather than devise feature programs for a horse and then put the horse under pressure by sticking to the program.

He had not been worried about Dyce’s four length fourth when favourite over 1160m in his last start before heading for Cape Town.

He said a bump had set Dyce alight and Kabelo Matsunyane had been unable to hold him.

Lucky was also not worried when he saw Dyce going like the clappers out in front on Saturday over the tough Kenilworth 1000m course and distance.

He said Craig Zackey knew the horse well and he had left it to him. Dyce was clearly in the hands too, unlike in his previous start.

Dyce produced a kick at the 200m mark on Saturday which can only be described as breathtaking considering how fast he and Thunderstruck had been going out in front.

Dyce provided one of Lucky’s chief owners, Dave Shawe, with a first Gr 1 win.

Dave’s Titanium Racing officially bred Dyce.

In truth, Dave bought a Galileo mare called Beshaayir (Aus) at a dispersal sale with the William Longsword colt Dyce already in her stomach.

Lucky revealed he had not known Dave Shawe when the latter asked him out of the blue to be his trainer.

To this day, Lucky does not know why he was chosen.

He quipped, “I think it is because I am a nice guy!”

He added Dave had made the right choice, as they had had a lot of success together.

Dyce is the first Gr 1 winner for William Longsword and he himself has a possible stud career ahead of him, still being an entire.

Dyce arrived back home from his triumphant Cape Town sojourn on Tuesday morning.