Operator’s timing device failed to kick in

Two-year-old colt Cruzador (11-4) set the course and All-Africa record for 1000m when he completed the distance in a lightning 54,19s at Fairview Racecourse in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) on Friday. The record won’t be recognised, however, because the contest wasn’t electronically clocked by the racing operator, Phumelela Gaming & Leisure.

Phumelela’s East Cape General Manager Luciano Passerini said: “It is standard procedure that the Judge does a hand-held back-up. And he believed a technical issue had led to the electronic time switch not kicking in.”
While the existing record of 54,38s set in December 2016 by four-year-old filly Scandal, racing in a handicap, will stand, Cruzador was impressive all the same.

Jockey Lyle Hewitson said that he became a bit worried before the race, because Cruzador was laid-back behind the pens, almost ‘fast asleep’. But he came out “knowing what to do” and raced for almost the entire trip at a cracking pace alongside Silent Observer, who headed him in the last 100m.

“Cruzador came back after losing his footing. He had a lot to come, he’s a horse with a lovely attitude,” said Hewitson.

Trainer Gavin Smith confirmed that Cruzador was a quiet horse, but that he had a ‘little boy’ streak, kicking out unexpectedly at times.

“He’s a nice little horse, I think he’s going to train on,” Smith added.

Cruzador is an Ascot-bred by Crusade from Norbury, by Fort Wood. He races for Messrs M Gwalangwa, Andre Van Schaik, Gavin Smith, Mr & Mrs Danesh Ramdhun & Mr Kamalen Chellen & Mr David & Mrs Charmaine de Wet.
Part-owner Andre van Schaik noted: “I got lucky here. I had a horse with Gavin called Going Biarritz, my first in his stable. But the horse went wrong and Gavin gave me a share in Cruzador as a gesture to make up for the disappointment. That was kind thing for him to do, he’s a top trainer.”
(Pic: Pauline Herman).

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