Ken Nicol: Undercover Agent, Lyle Hewitson and part owner Greg Bortz all scored a maiden Grade 1 win, as the quality of this year’s three-year-old crop was heavily underlined in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Greyville.
Brett Crawford stalwart Captain America took up his customary front running role, but set a rather mundane gallop.
The eventual winner was up handy, as were 13-10 favourite Snowdance, Copper Force, and the other Crawford decorated veteran Sail South.
Nothing from off the pace made any real impression, as only the order of the first four changed in the latter stages.
Copper Force quickly faded out of contention, and Undercover Agent got his nose in front about 200m from home. Wider out the filly Snowdance was starting to look a major threat, while Sail South was producing his usual game finishing effort.
In a driving finish the Captain Al colt dug deep under an inspired Hewitson ride to prevail by half a length over Snowdance, who while far from disgraced had every chance.
Sail South was only a neck further back in third, and Captain America tired late on to go down a length and a half.
Both the three-year-olds can expect hefty hikes in their merit ratings for seeing off Sail South (123) and Captain America (124) on weight-for-age terms.