WHEN Brett Crawford won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate four years ago with 6-1 shot Futura the general opinion was that he was lucky. The pace was funereal and odds-on Legislate finished last with his lungs found to be full of mucus. It was not until the Met three weeks later that horse and trainer got the credit they deserved.
Undercover Agent on Saturday is a different story. The second of the Green Point four, he goes into the race acknowledged as a strong contender with his trainer fancying his chances.
Crawford said: “He has improved this season – he is a lot stronger and more mature mentally. There was virtually nothing in it between the first four last time and it’s going to be a question of who has come on the most. I know Undercover Agent has come on and he has done a really good gallop since.”
There is another reason for the trainer’s confidence.Undercover Agent made much of the running four weeks ago and this time it looks as if he won’t have to. “A horse like him needs to use himself so we had to do what we did – we couldn’t wait for the others to go and then turn it into a sprint. Hopefully we will get a genuine pace this time and that will suit my horse.”
What of the opposition? Who does he fear most? “You have to respect the other three in the Green Point finish – any one of them could turn it around. I don’t know how strong the three-year-old colts are this season but the horse coming down from Jo’burg (Buffalo Bill Cody) won exceptionally well at Turffontein. I know he is still quite a few pounds shy on ratings but that doesn’t mean he can’t make the improvement.”
Photo: Undercover Agent beats Snowdance in the Gold Challenge.
-by Michael Clower/Gold Circle.