Bands and displays created a carnival atmosphere and the field for the Sun International (first run as the Summer Handicap in 1887) was one of the best in the long history of the race. Ante-post betting was dominated by three-year-old colts Potomac and Jungle Rock. Argentine-bred Potomac, a member of Cape trainer Terrance Millard's small band of raiders stabled at the Vaal, started favourite at 2/1 after runaway wins in the Cape Derby and SA Derby. Jungle Rock, second favourite at 9/2, held a strong claim on his Southern Sun Classic victory.
That three-year-olds dominated the betting was surprising given that no horse of that age had won the race since Caradoc triumphed in 1966. The conditions, however, favoured the younger generation. Five-year-olds and older were allotted weight-for-age less 1.5 kg; four-year-olds weight-for-age less 2kg, and three-year-olds weight-for-age less 3.5kg, while sex allowance was set at 1kg. Added to their apparent advantage was the widely-held belief that the current three-year-olds are the best crop for years.
Enchanted Garden, who along with Potomac and Jungle Rock represented the 3yo generation,started at 12/1 in spite of trainer Terrance Millard's pre-race statements that she was capable of matching strides with her better-fancied stablemate, and the fact that she’d won the SA Oaks in record time.
The field broke cleanly with front-running Scot's Cove going out to make a vain attempt to lead from start to finish. Scot's Cove had a lead of some five lengths over Fifth Amendment and Enchanted Garden halfway through the turn at the 1 000m mark. Potomac was racing on Fifth Amendment's heels along the inside rail with Voodoo Charm and Jungle Rock, who had been trapped wide from the break, on his outside.
he race quickly resolved into a duel in the straight. Jockey Mark Sutherland sent Enchanted Garden past pacemaking Scot's Cove at the 600m mark and Potomac took up the chase with the remainder struggling. Enchanted Garden veered over to the inside fence 400m out, crossing Potomac in the process. She was, however, more than a length clear and kept running gamely to land the race three-quarters of a length from Potomac. Yamani finished four lengths behind in third place.
Not surprisingly the objection hooter wailed when Felix Coetzee, rider of Potomac, objected against Enchanted Garden on the grounds of crossing. Millard was not in favour of an objection being laid, but Coetzee took the right decision in the circumstances. Enchanted Garden and Potomac have different owners and Coetzee was obliged to object if he thought there was the slightest chance of winning the race in the inquiry room. In the event, after a long wait, the objection was overruled.
Potomac's second placing enabled Millard to emulate the late George Azzie, who saddled first and second in 1972 (Elevation and Pedlar).
It was a bittersweet moment for Des Scott, who owns Potomac in partnership with Luke Bailes and former Turffontein chairman Laurie Jaffee. Only three months previously he had sold Enchanted Garden for a reported R300 000 to Adrian Gardiner and Tony Ross.
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