Twelve months earlier Bush Telegraph had won the Gr1 Administrator’s Champion Futurity Stakes to seal seasonal juvenile honours and while there are no national awards this year as a result of the equine flu disrupted season, Imperial Silver did enough in winning this top two-year-old event of the season – a second feature on “July” day – to dispel any doubts as to being the best of his crop.
This Grade 1 event, with a base stake of R75 000 and R100 000 added under the SA Futurity programme, virtually puts a cap on seasonal honours and, as such, attracts the top two-year-olds of the term.
The Imperial March (Can) colt Imperial Silver went into the race with only one blemish in a five race campaign, when he was unexpectedly beaten into fifth place in the 1600m Gr2 TAB (Tvl) Juvenile Colts & Geldings Stakes at Gosforth Park. His successes included a 4 length romp in Turffontein’s Gr1 SA Nursery Futurity Plate, in which he accounted for the hitherto unbeaten Raise A Raucus, and an end-to-end win in Scottsville’s Gr1 Smirnoff Plate.
Imperial Silver was installed as favourite, touching 9/10 at one stage but then easing to 11/10 when there was concerted support for Rollins (USA) colt, Raise A Raucus, who started a well backed second choice at 2’s. For the balance, the betting indicated that Priceless Asset, unbeaten in his two track appearances, was the only other runner in with a chance.
Natal colt Happy Farmer, as he had done in the Gosforth Park feature, came out racing at the break to set a good gallop along with longshot Fire And Ice. A couple of lengths further back, Jelos headed the pack in a somewhat strungout field from Raise A Raucus with Imperial Silver handy while Priceless Asset was trailing after 200m. Apart from Priceless Asset improving his position marginally, this was pretty much the order as the field swung into the home stretch where Raise A Raucus was the first to go after the leaders. Three hundred out it was Raise A Raucus in command but Imperial Silver was going great guns on the outside while My Freedom and Priceless Asset had commenced sustained drives to the line.
Into the final hundred it appeared that Raise A Raucus, fresh from victory in the Summerhill Sires Stakes over the track and distance a few weeks earlier, would register his second successive feature, but Imperial Silver gained the upper hand close home to win going away by a neck in 1:23,6 – four-fifths outside the 1400m race record established by Bush Telegraph the previous year. Priceless Asset, finishing perhaps strongest of all, flew late for third, 1 1/2 lengths off the winner, with My Freedom staying on for the minor placing.
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