Vaughn Marshall has Cape Derby in his sights
Vaughan Marshall sends out two horses with proven class, Rascallion and Linebacker, and an outsider he is quietly confident about, Dubai Lights, in an attempt to land his second Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby on Saturday at Kenilworth ten years after he landed his first.
Marshall won the Cape Derby in 2011 with 22/1 outsider Top Seller, who was by the stallion who has been the foundation of his yard's success, Al Mufti.
The latter was of course the sire of Captain Al, whom Marshall trained to Grade 1 glory and who later provided him with a number of Grade 1-winning sons and daughters.
It is not surprising that both of Marshall's chief runners on Saturday have the Al Mufti influence.
Rascallion, who is by Vercingetorix, is out of Jet Master mare Sofala, whose damsire is Al Mufti.
Linebacker is by a son of Captain Al, Captain Of All and is a big, long-striding individual, finished second last time out in the Grade 1 Cape Guineas.
However, he does have a stamina doubt on pedigree for Saturday's 2000m race.
Marshall said, "We are all in the same boat wondering whether he will get the trip but I hope his class carries him through."
Captain Of All was a top class sprinter, but has thrown some horses who stay, for example Shango, who won the Dingaans and finished second in the SA Derby.
Linebacker is out of Australian-bred Redoute's Choice mare Thin Red Line, whose two career wins were both over 1000m, but she did race mainly over a mile and she also had a third over 1800m and a second over 2000m.
In the Cape Guineas Linebacker was caught wide but still relaxed well and stayed all the way to the line. The run suggested he is easy to switch off and Grant van Niekerk, who replaces Donovan Dillon, will be hoping he stays. However, he does have another tough draw of 12.
Rascallion ran unlucky third in the Cape Guineas, having had to be snatched up halfway down the straight when sandwiched between a couple of horses before rallying to finish just 2,75 lengths back.
Last time out in the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m he came from near the back to run a 2,75 length third. He was not finding as much as either the winner Kommetdieding or the runner up Legitimate at the line, but was wearing first-time blinkers that day and they have been dispensed with for the Derby.
He was running at level weights with Kommetdieding in the Politician and gave Legitimate 6kg’s.
Rascallion is by Vercingetorix, who appears to be all about speed, unlike his sire Silvano.
However, Rascallion's dam Sofala should provide him with enough stamina as her six wins include five over 1800m and she also finished second once over 2600m.
Marshall says he isn’t concernerd about him staying.
"I am not at all worried about him staying and think he is a big runner."
He jumps from draw 4 and Anton Marcus retains the ride.
Dubai Lights is by Gimmethegreenlight out of the Marshall-trained Dubai Destination mare Dubai Gina, whose four wins include two races over 2400m and one of them was at Listed level. He has already proved he stays this trip but has a tough task on paper considering he was receiving 3kg from Kommetdieding in the Politician and was beaten 7,70 lengths. He also has to overcome a wide draw of ten.
However, Marshall was bullish and says, "he has been working very well at home and I would not be surprised if he finishes in the money."
Marshall was very happy with the preparations of all three runners and concluded, "I could not have them any better."