Favourite for the Transvaal's joint-richest sprint was Algernon Percy from the Vaal stables of ex-Zimbabwean Roy Magner, currently second on the Transvaal trainers' log.
Algernon Percy, rested since December but boasting three wins and two seconds in as many starts for Magner, went off at 3/1. The Barbican, one of three Natal raiders in the 15-strong line-up, drew strong support to start at 33/10.
There will be a few more exciting finishes on the Rand this season. Society Column on the outside and The Barbican, Hornpipe and Kirklevington in the centre dominated the middle stages with The Barbican seizing command about 300m out.
He was soon under severe pressure from Basil Marcus to withstand a challenge from British-bred mare Boezinge and the pair looked set to fight out the finish until Welcome Guest (8/1) produced an awesome burst of finishing speed.
Welcome Guest, who had won a Maiden Plate less than a year previously, specialises in mowing down the opposition from hopeless positions over 1000m but his cause looked truly hopeless with 400m left in the Computaform where he was eight lengths adrift of the leaders.
He still had 5 lengths to make up at the 200m pole and must have been doing two strides to his rivals' one as he flew up on the outside to beat The Barbican by three parts of a length with Boezinge a long head further back.
Welcome Guest is leased to trainer Robert Sage, son of former jockey and trainer Bert, by Lawrence Anthony who bought the four-year-old for only R10 000 at the 1984 National Yearling Sale when he was the first lot on the Wednesday evening session.
The victory was Welcome Guest's seventh in 11 career starts and more than doubled his earnings to R104 525 - a healthy profit on his buying price.
Welcome Guest, bred at the until-then-unknown Apenkloof Stud of Norman Hobson, is by Gatecrasher, who won the 1975 July Handicap before being relegated to third place after an objection.
Welcome Guest has apparently inherited his sprinting ability from dam Camp Vista, who won eight races up to 1200m on the Rand back in the 70s.
Algernon Percy never got within hailing distance of the leaders and finished ninth. There were no obvious excuses for the performance, although breaking through the front of the stalls at the start and having to be reloaded might have taken the edge off him.
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