Undercover Agent wins the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge!
-Mark van Deventer
In a fantastic achievement, trainer Brett Crawford saddled 1st , 3rd and 4th in this significant Grade 1.
1600m WFA contest at Greyville on Saturday, with Undercover Agent outdueling star filly,
Snowdance, followed by stable mates, Sail South and Captain America. Undercover Agent, cannily purchased by Greg Bortz and Braam van Huyssteen for R325 000 at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale in 2016, is a high quality and very game son of Captain Al, bred at Moutonshoek. His only poor effort out of ten starts was in the Cape Guineas from a wide draw, when clocking in tenth after making a respiratory noise. Other than that rare duff, he’s compiled a clean career record with five victories right up to the top level.
During the Cape season, he won the lucrative CTS 1600 on Met day, before kick- starting his Natal Winter campaign by beating Sniper Shot in the Byerley Turk. He then was just edged out by Perovskia in the Drill Hall Stakes before this career best effort to ward off the challenge of multiple Stakes winner, Snowdance. He was ridden by exceptional apprentice, Lyle Hewitson, for whom this was a first Grade 1 win.
Undercover Agent has earned over R4 million in stakes to date. Brett is thrilled to saddle the winner for such staunch owners. Whilst Braam van Huyssteen has already collected Grade 1 honours through the exploits of Legal Eagle and Mighty High, it was a first Grade 1 for Greg Bortz. Brett paid tribute, “What a pleasure to achieve it for a man, who has put so much into the game.”
The seven year olds, Sail South and Captain America again did their connections proud. Both are nine-time winners, and they continue to produce top notch performances in important races, particularly at distances around a mile. Captain America was coming back after 133 days off track, so understandably got weary in deep stretch, yet it was another sterling effort by Captain Al’s accomplished son. Sail South always gives it a full go, even though for much of his career he’s had to tangle with high calibre rivals like Equus Champ, Legal Eagle, as well as classy stable mates Edict of Nantes (since
exported) and Captain America. This durable Sail from Seattle gelding has provided owner/breeders, Gill Dempsey and Nigel Potts with immense pleasure.
Crawford Racing’s operation is geared towards getting the best out of every horse in the yard. There is professional satisfaction in optimising the careers of even limited or difficult horses by winning humble races. But, the real excitement and sense of accomplishment comes from lifting Grade 1 trophies’ - so hats off to the entire Crawford Racing team for pulling of this Gold Challenge sweep.