Royal Victory (far side) wins the Michaelmas under Calvin Habib (Picture: Candiese Lenferna)
It takes a special horse to come from the back on the tight Hollywoodbets Greyville straight in a feature race with topweight to win and that is what the Nathan Kotzen-trained Royal Victory achieved in Sunday’s PinkDrive Non-Black Type Michaelmas Handicap over 1900m, in which he carried a welter burden of 61,5kg under Calvin Habib.
It was an emotional moment for part owner PJ Victor because the Pink Drive meeting dedicated to cancer awareness fell on the eighth anniversary of him losing his daughter to the dreaded disease.
PJ part-owns Royal Victory together with PJ Victor and Natasha Sturdy.
PJ was partly behind the decision to send Royal Victory over further.
He said after the race he was looking forward to a run in the R5 million Betway Summer Cup over 2000m on November 25 at Turffontein Standside, now that the horse has matured and proved he enjoys middle distances.
Royal Victory was not among the first entries in the Summer Cup, so watch for his name being added before second entries close on October 31.
Kotzen had his doubts about the trip on Sunday and therefore removed the blinkers.
Nathan also felt Royal Victory had been a bit too handy in his last couple of starts.
The Pathfork gelding came from the back when running on strongly for a short-head second in the Gr 2 WSB Gauteng Guineas last season.
Royal Victory, bred by Dr Marianne Thompson’s Ambiance Stud, was duly left alone from draw two on Sunday and was in joint last place rounding the Drill Hall.
He was on the rail with just one behind him when they turned for home in the nine horse field.
He then ran on steadily in the straight on the inside rail and Habib managed to extract a late surge for him to get up by a head from fellow four-year-old Pirate Prince, to whom he gave 9,5kg.
Decent sorts Cape Eagle, Queue Wing and Addabar, whom he gave lumps of weight to, were next best in that order and beaten a neck, 1,50 and 2,25 lengths respectively.
Royal Victory ran off a merit rating of 108 and has been raised two points to 110.
23 of the 40 first entries in the Betway Summer Cup are merit rated either equal to that mark or higher, so he will have a good chance of making the final field of 20 runners.
However, with bottom weight set to be 54kg and the highest rated entry being last year’s winner, the 123 merit rated six-year-old Puerto Manzano, Royal Victory will go in 1kg under sufferance as things stand.