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Undercover Agent won Friday night’s Grade 2 Independent on Saturday Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville in a thrilling finish, narrowly holding off fast-finishing Rainbow Bridge and a determined Cirillo.

Brett Crawford’s colt started as the 15-10 favourite, with Sun Met champion Rainbow Bridge, trained by Eric Sands, next on the boards at 4-1. While the 1400m trip of the famous old race looked suitable for Undercover Agent, it was short of optimal for Rainbow Bridge.

Corne Orffer got Undercover Agent away smartly from his inside stall and they made a good pace, with Cirillo always on their heels and Rainbow Bridge making progress racing around the field into a challenging position.

When they turned Cirillo, under champion jockey Lyle Hewitson, went for the jugular and for a few moments looked the likely winner, but Undercover Agent refused to give up. He regained the lead and fought on hard to win.

Rainbow Bridge seemed to hit a flat spot as the two in front got away, but he found his composure again and ran on well, just edged out at the line. He has a big season ahead of him.

“Undercover Agent is a good horse and he won a good race,” said Orffer, who did everything exactly right, riding a well-timed finish.

“Undercover Agent had everything in his favour tonight, including a plum draw and he had a very good prep coming into the race,” Crawford said. He noted later that Undercover Agent will be aimed at the obvious seasonal targets, the Gr1 Rising Sun over 1600m and the Champions Cup over 1800m. Undercover Agent, a A R325 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate, is by Captain Al from Secret Risk, by London News. He has a record of seven wins and six places from 16 starts and has banked R5,7-million for owners Braam van Huyssteen and Greg Bortz. He was raised at Moutonshoek.