Greyville, Turf, 3200m
26 July 2014

Wavin’ Flag, the horse no one wanted, repaid his owners four times over when he landed the Grade 1 eLan Property Group Gold Cup at Greyville Saturday.

Under jockey Glen Hatt for trainer Brett Crawford, Wavin’ Flag finished smartly up the inside rail to deny Wild One and Gold Onyx with favourite Hot Ticket putting in a late effort to snatch fourth franking the form of the Gold Vase.

It was a red letter afternoon for Crawford and Hatt who followed up their Gold Cup triumph in the Grade 1 Beach Beauty Champions Cup with favourite Futura, a race that Crawford won last year with the now retired Jackson.

Bred by John Slade, stud manager at Maine Chance Farms, Wavin’ Flag was bought as a weanling by the grooms co-op. However, when offered for sale at auction as a yearling, Wavin’ Flag failed to reach his reserve. “He had a reserve of R200,000 but no one wanted him,” said well-known racing television personality Grant Knowles, one of the many co-owners. “So I bought him back but we still had trouble putting a syndicate together. There was nothing wrong with him, just that he was a typical Silvano yearling; a bit plain.”

Well he didn’t look plain in the winner’s box Saturday!

Pace, or more accurately, the lack of it, has been a worrying feature of this Champions Season and in another rough race where the early gallop had runners jostling for position there were a lot of hard luck stories. One of these was favourite Hot Ticket who was shuffled back early and trailed the field for much of the race.

Canterbury Tale made the early running but was none too keen in front with Wild One and Ash Cloud in behind. Wavin’ Flag was racing mid-field. At the top of the straight Hatt slipped Wavin’ Flag up the inside rail joining issue with Wild One.

Gold Onyx, who was none too keen to take part as he ducked down the chute during the pre-raced parade but seems to reserve his best for Greyville, was produced with a telling late run up the outside fence and Piere ‘Striker’ Strydom looked to have lived up to his billing.

However, Wavin’ Flag and Wild One drew the best out of each other and there was only a half-length and a nose in it at the line.

“He’s a horse who really deserves this,” said Hatt. “He’s a changed horse since coming to KwaZulu-Natal. He had a couple of little mishaps leading up to this race but lucky he’s a horse that doesn’t take a lot of work.”

The brilliant mare Beach Beauty, retired and soon off to stud, led the parade for the Champions Cup, now named in her honour but it was again Crawford and Hatt who stole the show. 

Futura was a strong fancy for the Vodacom Durban July but was one of the many runners undone by the farcically slow pace. It was a little better this time round as No Worries set a decent gallop for the short-priced favourite, allowing Futura to use his long stride.

Hatt employed similar tactics as on Wavin’ Flag, giving Futura a clear run up the inside rail and the colt responded well with a telling finish. The grey King Of Pain ran on late for second with No Worries staying on for third.

Extract from Gold Circle