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There was a lively buzz at the V&A Waterfront’s Ginja Café when the final field for the R7,5 million WSB Gold Rush was announced on Wednesday evening.

The race, a great treat on the undercard for Met Day, 28 January, was opened to graduates of the 2021 Cape Premier Yearling Sale and is effectively owned by 16 prospectors who bought their big-race berth at R400 000 a pop. It is based on similar principles as The Everest in Australia.

There is a huge amount of money at stake here – the winning connections will share a whopping R5-million, along with personal pride, bragging rights and the possibility of getting involved In Gold Rush # 2.

Grant Knowles, who originally devised the concept for South African racing, said that eight of 16 tickets had already been sold for next year’s Gold Rush, based on yearlings sold at the 2022 renewal of the Cape Premier Sale. “We are very pleased with the interest generated for Gold Rush # 1 and new prospectors need to hurry up to secure slots for next year’s race. They’re going fast!”

Justin Snaith’s Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas fourth-placed Royal Aussie drew at gate 8 for this, the richest race run on African soil in recent times.

Richard Fourie will partner Royal Aussie, who at an official 109 is the highest rated runner in the field.

The son of Royal Mo races in the popular silks of Suzette and Basie Viljoen, in partnership with Dr Jill Warner and Australian-based, Dane Squance. Royal Aussie was originally pinhooked at the 2021 Cape Premier Sale by Knowles and then sold at the Ready To Run Sale.

The astute Knowles also bred Brett Crawford runner Champion Warrior at Klawervlei and then sold him to the Gujadhur family.

Champion Warrior will run on the Central Route Trading ticket, and Knowles also owns a share with Paul Barrett, Jacques Chowles, Ross Kieswetter, Ricky Sewgoolam, and Mesdames Gwen MacGregor and Brenda Moody, in the smart Cape Racing Ready To Run Stakes winner Seeking The One, who will come in under the Brett Crawford Racing ticket.

French Champion Christophe Soumillon is back for the big day and he partners the Vaughan Marshall-trained Dave The King for Gary Player and his partners, using the Klawervlei ticket. John Koster of Klawervlei said: “We originally had Yellowporscheroad, who ran second to Charles Dickens on his debut and then won before bleeding, but we’re pleased to have a chance with Dave The King, we are excited.”

Other deals were done in the run-up to the race following negotiations between ticket holders without qualifying runners and buyers wanting in. They include Nic Jonnson, who secured the Maine Chance ticket in a deal done with Andreas Jacobs and will be shouting for See It Again. The owners of Pas De Nom secured a stakes share deal with ticket holder, Laurence Wernars.

The field is:

  WORLD SPORTS BETTING GOLD RUSH                                                                      
  For 3-year-olds (Non-Black Type), R7,5-million, 1600m   
  Horse Mass MR Jockey Trainer
1 MAX THE OTTER 60 89 A Domeyer Candice Bass-Robinson
2 TRIPLE TIME 60 92 B Fayd’Herbe Justin Snaith
3 KING REGENT 60 90 G Van Niekerk Glen Kotzen
4 LORD WILLIAM 60 100 J Jacobs Vaughan Marshall
5 ITSRAININGWILLIAM 60 94 P Strydom Justin Snaith
6 SEEKING THE ONE 60 100 L Mxothwa Brett Crawford
7 SEE IT AGAIN 60 104 *R A Venniker Michael Roberts
8 ROYAL AUSSIE 60 109 R Fourie Justin Snaith
9 CHAMPION WARRIOR 60 97 K Matsunyane Brett Crawford
10 ASIYE PHAMBILI 57,5 88 S Khumalo Sean Tarry
11 WINTER GREETING 57,5 90 C Habib Sean Tarry
12 PAS DE NOM 60 97 K De Melo Dean Kannemeyer
13 BILLY SPELLBOUND 60 81 G Lerena Sean Tarry
14 DAVE THE KING 60 108 C Soumillon Vaughan Marshall
15 TIME FO ORCHIDS 57,5 107 C Orffer Vaughan Marshall
16 HAMMIES HERO 60 94 G Wright Candice Bass-Robinson
  Reserve Runners        
0 FAMOUS AND RICH 60 96 Reserve 1 Glen Kotzen
0 DOWSER 60 84   Glen Kotzen
0 RULE OF THUMB 60 84   Justin Snaith