The Gary Alexander trained stayer, Summerhill-born The Elmo Effect sprang a surprise when he finished with a sustained run to cut down Arctica and win the R150 000 Listed Drum Star Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday.
It was a sentimental victory for Alexander, who trained the feisty Gr1 galloper Drum Star, in whose honour the 1800m feature is named to his 12 wins – even though the lesser fancied one of the stable coupling came up.
Van Der Merwe had The Elmo Effect relaxed in midfield as regular pacemaker Stonehenge led Arctica and Mans Inn for home.
At the 400m, S’manga Khumalo gave Arctica his head and the son of Captain Al dashed past Stonehenge – but started hanging out badly. At the 300m, he crossed in front of Rathmor Stud-bred Romany Prince, who was making what looked to be a dangerous run.
All the while, The Elmo Effect was winding up and enjoying the pressure, he came forward down the inside to challenge – with JP van der Merwe switching whip hands from left to right, and sensibly pushing with his hands, despite the line looming fast, and the danger of the horse down the outside.
With Arctica having wasted lengths and caused some havoc, The Elmo Effect came charging down the inside under an inspired ride to win by 0,80 lengths. The winning time was a decent 109,55 secs.
Last year’s winner Romany Prince was a bit unlucky late behind Arctica – but was not disgraced with his very honest 2,05 length fourth.
A winner of five races with 11 places from 30 starts, The Elmo Effect took his earnings to R488 375 with this win and is bound to enjoy the more testing staying features that lie ahead. This is the second feature win for the son of Admire Main, who also took home the Java Handicap Listed over 2450m.
The Elmo Effect was a R225 000 2013 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale graduate.
Bred by Taryn Liebenburg and Annet Becker of Summerhill Stud, he is a son of Admire Main out of the one-time winning Northern Guest mare, Dream Starling. This is the third Bold Black Type horse for the dam, after she produced Gr2 Gauteng Guineas winner, Heaps Of Fun and Gr3 placed Cookie Monster. Her other daughter Red Spirit in turn has produced two winners – including Gr3 placed Newton Power for Bush Hill Stud.
This is an exceptional KZN-based damline that has produced the likes of Trademark, In The Fast Lane, Light The Lights, Visuality and full sisters – Clifton Stud-bred Print The Pounds and Duffi’s Call.
The Elmo Effect is owned by Messrs Pravin Chetty & H B Odendaal.