ERICH van Niekerk called jockey Raymond Danielson “Ray Donovan” (after the TV action hero) for bravely going through a gap in a critical stage of Saturday’s Gr1 Tsogo Sun Sprint over 1200m – a move that brought him victory.
This was a second Gr1 win on the day for Erich’s father Chris, who’d earlier won the Gold Medallion with Eden Rock and he echoed the praise for Danielson, saying: “I am becoming emotional. This is a sport for the people and we’ve seen some wonderful achievements today. Luke Ferraris rode his first Gr1 winner and now Raymond showed again what he can do in a big race for us.”
While the jockeys seemed to pick sides in the first three sprints, tacking over to the outside or the inside, this power-packed 16-horse field spread out across the track with plenty of pace on all fronts, dominated by Brett Crawford’s runners Bold Respect (outside), Search Party (inside), Sunset Eyes and Undercover Agent centre.
The complexion of the race changed with 400m to run as Palace Chapel and Down To Zero joined the fray and with perhaps 10 runners storming to the line it was Chimichuri Run who found a passage standside and finished best of all for a win over stablemates Trip To Heaven and Africa Rising, also doing their best work over the last 100m and securing an excellent 1-2-3 for Sean Tarry’s stable.
“I’ve been looking so long to win a Gr1 sprint and I’m glad it came in this race,” said Danielson, who has ridden three other Gr1 winners for Tarry. “Thanks to Mr Tarry for the instructions, he told me to keep the whip off the horse for as long as possible which I did. He was courageous, he took the gap and when he went through it i knew it was race over,” said Danielson of Chimichuri Run, who won going away by 0.70-lengths, Africa Rising just a quarter length back in third and the game Undercover Agent keeping on for fourth.
Tarry said: “Things fell into place for us. This horse was almost sold to Hong Kong but he failed the vet and had to stay. Now we have a three-year-old entire by Trippi who has won a Group 1 aand it’s another Gr1 success for Chris.
“Well done to Raymond. He is a class rider, just has to remind himself that he is class and he can do anything.”
“A special thanks to Lyle, who had to stick with Trip To Heaven because that is what the team required. He showed that he is a team player and I am proud of him. Also, as much as I’d like to have won the Gr2 Jackpot, it gives me great pleasure to have seen Luke Ferraris winning his first Grade2, he is also an integral part of the team.”
Raised at Drakenstein Stud, Chimichuri Run is a son of Trippi and Spiced Gold (Kahal), a R1,1-million buy from the Cape Premier Yearling Sale in 2016. He is 4 from 14 with eight place and impressive bankroll of R1,515,000.