With Occult's carrying 55.5 kg - five more than he had shouldered in the July - and the fact that he had yet to be raced at the distance, there were some who believed that his winning run was about to come to an end.
Lack of knowledge about his stamina prompted jockey Felix Coetzee to say in a pre-race interview that he hoped for a moderate pace. Coetzee had elected to partner Occult in preference to the stable's record-breaking Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winner Mighty Mandarin, who had shown a distinct liking for the Greyville circuit.
On-course support for Mighty Mandarin saw him oust stable mate Occult - the early ante-post favourite - from the top of the betting boards, but by the off, Occult was again the popular choice at 5/2, marginally shorter odds than those offered about the Elevation gelding. Also to attract solid support was Alan Higgins-trained Free Ride gelding Free Town. Higgins said in a pre-race interview that the distance and not the Millard combination was the biggest danger to his charge. As it turned out, Free Town was running on at the end, but never able to get to grips with Occult.
Coetzee wasted no time after the break in getting Occult over from his extreme outside draw in the field of 19 to be second to Supreme Sovereign, who raced without shoes, going past the winning post for the first time. When they came into view from behind the totalisator board, Demon King had taken up the running from Supreme Sovereign, with Occult and Mighty Mandarin next best. Soon after going through the 1600, Supreme Sovereign took over again, Occult moving into second on a tight rein.
Supreme Sovereign was a few lengths clear up the hill to the straight but once heads were turned for home, he was challenged by Occult, who skipped clear to assure victory.
Basil Marcus found a clear run on Free Town in the straight, but by then the bird had flown. Occult had two lengths to spare at the line. The winning time of 3:19,80 was a fifth outside Rack and Ruin's 1970 track and race record. Bleriot and Midnight Seller, two 25/1 chances, finished best of the balance to complete an all-Cape finish.
With the win Occult’s career earnings went to R457.445. Not bad for a R9000 purchase.
- August 1986 SA Racehorse – Analysis of the pedigree of Occult
- September 1986 Winner’s Circle – Editorial
- September 1986 Winner's Circle - The Best of 85-86
Leave a Comment