Wonderous Climber, one of the “talking horses” of the 2016 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, took some time to mature, but following his win in Saturday’s Listed Aquanaut Handicap over 2400m he is being touted as a possible Gold Cup winner.
Wonderous Climber, a R1-milllion purchased for owner Chris van Niekerk, has chalked up five wins from six starts since November 2018 and he was the first of four CTS graduates to win Listed or Graded features on Classic Day at Turffontein.
Wonderous Climber started 5-1 favourite, his followers having forgiven him for a below-par last run, when the soft track condition was said to have contributed to him plodding on, unplaced in a conditions race.
Those very followers would have gasped for breath again – the drone hovering above the start showed that Wonderous Climber was slow away, losing several lengths. He raced up into the backmarkers, however, and soon had a better position as the race unfolded and Dromedaris led the field from Tirzan, Earth Sky and Odd Robb.
Wonderous Climber’s rivals were changing positions, some challenging briefly as they ran down the home straight and others dropping away. The favourite himself made steady progress and had them all in his sights with 250m to run. Her finished best of all to collar Odd Rob near the line, Samurai Warrior staying on best of the rest for third.
“Wonderous Climber stood in the gates. We were always going to give him a chance but after his slow start it took a while for him to get into position about three quarters back. The one wrong thing would have been to panic. I sat still, allowed him to keep his balance,” said Lyle Hewitson, who rode a perfectly judged race.
“I got after him when we turned for home, he got a bit leg-weary but then found extra again. He won well and he deserved this feature win.”
The first leg of a Sean Tarry double on the big day, Wonderous Climber has now won 6 races in total with 4 places from 19 starts and stakes earnings of R423 700.
A son of perennial champion sire Dynasty (Fort Wood), the winner was bred by Ridgemont Highlands from their SA Broodmare of The Year Our Table Mountain, a six-time winning daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus.