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SPEEDY filly, Live Life and very handsome colt William Longsword won the CTS Sprint and CTS Mile respectively at Kenilworth on Saturday. These richly endowed races for three year olds carried stakes of 500,000 USD each. Qualifying graduates from the 2015 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, the 2015 CTS March Yearling Sale and the 2015 Emperor’s Palace Yearling Sale were eligible. Doing the currency conversions, prize money amounted to around R6,6 million for each CTS race – half of that hefty sum accruing to the winner’s.

Part of Africa’s Richest Race-day, the CTS Sprint over 1200m was run at a strong gallop, which worked ideally for Live Life and she was able to produce the same powerful closing burst that enabled her to snare Grade 1 heroine, Carry on Alice in the Sceptre Stakes three weeks ago. Carol Bass remarked, “She’s very good and the fast pace suited her. The form to Carry On Alice is franked, as she’s now gone on to win the Flying Champs.”

Live Life, by Trippi out of the National Assembly mare Viva, made a big move in the centre under jockey, Grant van Niekerk to sneak in. Bred by Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm and purchased by Piet du Toit’s Hunkydory Investments for R2,5 million at CPYS 2015, the bay filly was winning her fourth race from nine starts for trainer Candice Bass Robinson.

Always in Charge was gallant, only being outrun in the final strides. Bred at Klawervlei Stud, this classy son of Captain Al, who won the Gold Medallion at two and races off an official merit rating of 108, seems sure to enjoy a productive career.  Attenborough made up plenty of ground to clinch third place. The son of Western Winter was bred by Pippa Mickleburgh and belongs to Mayfair Speculators, the same connections that campaign the second horse.

Punters weren’t deterred by an awkward barrier draw sending William Longsword off as a firm 16/10 favourite for the CTS Mile on the back of an assertive victory in the Cape Guineas in mid-December. Just as in that prestigious race, he used natural gate-speed to get over to secure a handy position then used his powers of acceleration to blast away in the stretch.

After attaining placings in the Sprint, owners Mayfair Speculators went one better here. William Longsword is a magnificent specimen and was expertly prepared by Vaughan Marshall. John Koster, of Klawervlei Stud envisages an exciting future as a stallion for this son of Captain Al, “He is some horse, and the timing is perfect for him to go to stud.”

Copper Force, by Royal Air Force ran huge to snare the Philanthropist gelding, Singapore Sling for second. He was drawn on the far outside and raced wide at the back of the field before launching a spirited bid in the straight. Breeder, Dr Ian Heyns was full of praise for Copper Force’s brave try, whilst also speaking fondly of the dam, Eastern Copper, “ She is just a little thing, not even 14 hands and this is her only foal of size.”Fourth spot went to Janoobi. He too was poorly drawn yet managed to get into the fray down the long straight to provide healthy earnings for connections.

Both incentive races generated a really special buzz and showcased thoroughbred racing at its best – the lucrative prize money is obviously greatly rewarding for equine investors whilst racing fans were treated to quality fields and a stirring spectacle. – Mark van Deventer.

Photo: William Longsword. (Wayne Marks).