rebel king and anton marcusRebel King with Anton Marcus aboard
(Photo : Gold Circle)

A polished performance by Rebel King lead to his richly deserved victory in Saturday’s Gr1 Cape Flying Championship. For the Charles Laird stable, Rebel King’s win adds to the superb double by champion sprinter Nhlavini in 2005 and 2006.

Racing South Africa reports that as the gates opened, Port Elizabeth star Hear The Drums and KwaZulu Natal visitor Battlestar Express immediately engaged in a battle for the lead, with the Gauteng challenger, Rebel King, settling just a couple of lengths off the pacesetters. The chestnut quickened into the lead at the furlong mark and although strongly challenged by Blue Tiger on his inside, he maintained his advantage to the line to score a rather cosy neck victory. Blue Tiger held on to the runner-up spot from his fast-finishing stable companion Gaultier.

A dual Gr.2 winner prior to this victory, Rebel King had mixed it up with some of the finest sprinters in South Africa. He finished runner-up to champion Mythical Flight in the 2007 Computaform Sprint and chased home War Artist and JJ The Jet Plane respectively in the last two renewals of the Mercury Sprint. Rebel King entered the Cape Flying Championship off a tight runner-up effort in the Gr.2 Merchants Stakes at Turffontein and a fast-finishing third behind Blue Tiger in the Gr.2 Diadem Stakes. All credit to ‘caretaker’ trainer Joey Ramsden for supervising the winner’s preparation since that run and saddling Rebel King in the absence of Charles Laird, who is currently in New Zealand.

Joey Ramsden said : “It’s been tremendous fun having him, he’s very intelligent, a real thinker. Hats off to his devoted groom Joseph, who has done a wonderful job.”

Five-year-old Rebel King, a  R210,000 yearling purchase, has been a consistent moneyspinner for his connections, boasting an enviable record of seven wins and 13 places from 22 starts, with stakes earnings now in excess of R1.5million. Still an entire (a rarity among South African-bred older males), victory here has obviously boosted his prospects as a potential stallion and his pedigree certainly warrants him a place at stud in time to come.

Bred at Summerhill Stud, Rebel King is one of seven Gr.1 winners sired by champion and top sire National Emblem, out of Cousin Linda, a half-sister to stakes winners Lucy’s Lad and Cousin John, both sons of Jallad.

Grandam Cousin Lucy never raced, but earned her place at stud as a daughter of champion sire Foveros and Gr.3-placed Luciennes, the dam of Gr.1 Garden Province winner Lyrical Linda (also by Jallad), Gr.3 Peninsula Stakes hero Acacia Woodland (Fort Wood) and Gr.3-placed five-time winner Tolme (Model Man). She hails from one of Highlands Farms’ leading families, that of Elevation full brothers Duc Du Orleans (Gr.1 SA Nursery) and Gr.2 winner and multiple Gr.1-placed Count Du Barry, as well as Persian Wonder siblings Gay Mam’selle (Natalia Stakes) and Big Swinger, who finished second in three Gr.1 Guineas.