The catalogue for April’s 2020 BSA National Yearling Sale has not been published as yet, but the draft has been approved and we are informed that Lot 185 will be a particularly sought-after yearling.
That lot number belongs to Celestial City, a full-brother to Hawwaam (Silvano), and the next offspring in line from the extraordinary broodmare Halfway To Heaven, whose three-year-old Philanthropist gelding Golden Ducat won Saturday’s ARF Commemorative Cape Derby at Kenilworth, giving the mare her third individual Gr1 winner.
Yet another Silvano-Halfway To Heaven mating produced a filly, beautifully named In Limbo, and due to be going into training soon. The mare also has a Querari foal at foot.
Golden Ducat, like his half-brother Rainbow Bridge, is trained by Eric Sands, who has done a sterling job with the chestnut. He injured his hock as a young horse and was held back to run for Mary Slack, representing the Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein partnership.
Lightly-raced, Golden Ducat was described by pre-race paddock expert Stan Elley as looking, “more athletic, not as big” after being recently gelded and Elley, who expected a big run from Sands’ charge, was spot-on in his assessment.
Tellytrack’s Grant Knowles added: “He’s much better than his 89 rating, he’s nowhere near that!”
Perhaps as a result of the pundits’ confidence, Golden Ducat shortened from 16s to 10-1. Well ridden by the ever-improving Craig Zackey, and with more or less the same tactics he’s been using on Vardy, Golden Ducat looked comfortable throughout settling a dozen lengths off On My Mind and Sachdev, who led the pack into the straight on steady bridles.
Golden Ducat made up ground and was soon spotted looming up in the middle of the track, with Zackey in full control with plenty of horse underneath him. Golden Ducat drew alongside Sachdev with 200m to run, and, after a brief tussle, put him to bed to win by half a length. Super Silvano took third, Parterre fourth.
Zackey was delighted to have won another big race for his sponsors, Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein: He said: “I’ve ridden a few Graded winners for Jessica (Jell, of Mauritzfontein), and my goal has been to ride one for Mrs Slack. I’m very happy to have done so now.”
Zackey said that Golden Ducat was “a big strapping fellow with a huge action” that have him high hopes on the canterdown. “He gave me extra when I needed and is only going to progress from here.”
Sands, emotional, commented: “Halfway to Heaven has been very good to me. I’m not sure if what she’s done has been done before and if it will be done again.”
He added: “I’ve won the Derby before with an immature horse, avoiding feature races with a light prep. He was prepped in a Pinnacle Plate and ran way above his rating.”
Golden Ducat, now two from five, has won R696,00 in stakes.