AFRICAN NIGHT SKY
Ken Nicol: Ruling Vodacom July favourite African Night Sky could not have been more impressive as he came from stone last with 400m to go to win the Grade 3 Cup Trial under a hands and heels ride by Hong Kong bound Grant Van Niekerk.
Top weight Celtic Captain set the pace, but was overtaken by Ollivander around the 800m mark, who quickened up the gallop. Crowd Pleaser and Head Honcho were also up handy.
Run on handicap terms, African Night Sky was certain to get a weight penalty for the July if winning here, and conspiracy theorists were having a field day when Van Niekerk still had the 11/10 favourite parked in the rear at the top of the straight.
But both horse and rider showed their class in no uncertain terms, as he carved his way through the field in effortless fashion, and by the 200m pole it was obvious there was only going to be one winner.
The margin over Greyville specialist Crowd Pleaser was a mere three quarters at the line, but that in no way reflects the absolute superiority of the winner, and it will be interesting to see how the official handicappers interpret this result.
Fellow Snaith July hopeful Platinum Prince was third, and his big race prospects must be borderline. Drill Hall winner Perovskia faded right out to finish second last, and goes down as a disappointment.