SEARCH PARTY BEATS TALKTOTHESTARS
Cape trainer Brett Crawford’s raid on KwaZulu-Natal for the winter season is one of the most lucrative in his life and he added another piece of silverware to his trophy cabinet when Search Party won the R400,000 Post Merchants (Grade 2) over 1200m at Greyville on Friday night.
Joey Ramsden-trained Australian import Professor Brian was all the rage bidding for his sixth win in a row and went through the stalls as 32-10 favourite. However, he failed to overcome a wide draw, racing a little bit wide on the turn and having only two horses behind him when they straightened. He ran on for about 200m but his exertions told and he became a little one paced in the closing stages, eventually finishing sixth.
Search Party, who had finished second in the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint in his previous racecourse appearance, was a strong market rival at 4-1 with Amazing Strike drifting from 11-2 to 7s. There was 10-1 and better available about the rest.
Jockey Corne Orffer wasted no time taking Search Party to the front and his hindquarters were all his rivals saw for most of the race. Stablemate Gulf Storm was in the leading vanguard, racing wide on the turn, with Redcarpet Captain and Amazing Strike in box position under Anthony Delpech. Talktothestars was on the rail behind Amazing Strike and had it all to do in the short straight.
Gulf Storm and Redcarpet Captain fell away in the straight, leaving Amazing Strike to chase the winner and Talktothestars running on strongly under top weight of 60kg.
He sliced past Amazing Strike about 200m out and started to wear Search Party down, but the post came in time for Crawford’s runner to win by a neck. Amazing Strike stayed on for third, two lengths further back and 1,75 lengths in front of Captain’s Causeway.
It was Crawford’s fifth big-race win this winter.
The race was one of the trials for the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint over 1200m at Greyville on Saturday 15 July – the final big sprint of the South African racing season.