By Sarah Whitelaw
Legislate prevailed in a thrilling clash of South Africa's top 3-year-olds May 31, capturing the Daily News 2000 (SAf-I) at Greyville racecourse.
In winning the top-level contest, Legislate provided trainer Justin Snaith with a quick group I double on the card. Snaith also sent out In the Fast Lane, by Jet Master, to win the Woolavington 2000 one race earlier.
Legislate, who had to overcome a wide draw from post 11, was backed in to start a 3-2 favorite for the Daily News, a 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) race, ahead of outstanding Gauteng contender Louis the King (5-2). The latter had made history earlier in the season when becoming just the second colt to win the SASOC Triple Crown, sweeping the Gauteng Guineas, SA Classic and SA Derby (all SAf-I).
The only other colt to receive serious betting support for the 2014 Daily News 2000 was Grand Parade Cape Guineas (SAf-I) runner-up Captain America, who was sent off an 11-2 shot for the race.
The 8-1 shot As You Like jumped well and made the running ahead of Top Jet and Captain America, with leading contenders Legislate and Louis the King dropping back to race at the rear of the 12-horse field.
As the field turned for home, Legislate made a bold move under a confident ride from jockey Richard Fourie. The rider elected to angle his mount out wide as the field turned into the home straight, with Legislate producing a fine turn of foot to take the lead.
Legislate pulled clear with 200 meters left to run and looked a certain winner. However, the 10-1 shot Rake's Chestnut put in a strong late run to challenge the favorite with 50 meters remaining.
Legislate held on gamely, and withstood Rake's Chestnut to win by a short head. Louis the King, who was making his first start at Greyville, ran on strongly for third place, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
Fourie was ecstatic about Legislate after the race.
"This is a champion!" he exclaimed. "They went miles too slow in the running, but he took off so well (at the top of the straight) that I was confident of victory. He is brilliant."
Bred by the Cheveley Stud, Legislate is a son of former South African Horse of the Year Dynasty, who won the Daily News 2000 in 2003. By Sadler's Wells son Fort Wood, Dynasty was also responsible for 2012 Daily News 2000 winner Jackson.
A leading contender for South Africa's Equus Award for champion 3-year-old colt, Legislate is out of the four-time winning Restructure mare Champers.
Legislate is owned by Newbury Racing in partnership with Jack Mitchell and Drakenstein Stud. He has four wins from 10 career starts. His win on Saturday marked a third consecutive, following victories in the Investec Cape Derby (SAf-I) Feb. 1 and KRA Guineas (SAf-II) in December. He looks to be a leading contender for South Africa's premier's race, the Vodacom Durban July (SAf-I), to be run at Greyville racecourse July 5.