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Valley Wins The Merchants

Dillon takes over and executes a polished ride

Jay Peg’s hardknocking 7yo son Silicone Valley scored a long overdue first feature success when he came from off the pace to win the R400 000 World Sports Betting Gr2 Cape Merchants at Kenilworth on Saturday.

(Pic - Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Donovan Dillon has Silicone Valley in full flight to beat Dutch Philip (obscured) and Always In Charge (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

A runner-up to Search Party in the same race last year, Silicone Valley built on his storming recent third behind Our Mate Art in the Matchem Stakes and took full advantage of a substantial swing in the weights to pick up the biggest cheque of his career in the first of the Cape Summer Season’s trio of sprints – the Diadem Stakes is next on 13 January and then the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship is the big one on Met day.

Being a handicap, the Merchants often dishes up a surprise result and the 2017 renewal looked particularly open – with Gr1 winner Always In Charge and last year’s winner Search Party at the top of the boards.

With Anthony Delpech medically indisposed, the Silicone Valley ride fell to Donovan Dillon and the young rider rode the perfect race on the 8-1 shot.

With the race initially run in two groups after Bishop’s Bounty lost many lengths at the jump, the outside bunch eventually joined forces with the inside stream at about the 700m marker. Dillon had Silicone Valley well back as Sergeant Hardy and Al Mariachi showed the way.

At the 350m Silicone Valley was switched out for his run with the 3yo Dutch Philip taking off at the same time – Lyle Hewitson opting to take the latter sneakily between runners.

(Pic - Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Post-race celebrations (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Despite Dutch Philip taking the shorter route, it was the Glen Puller-trained Silicone Valley who finished best and the 7yo stormed clear to win by three quarters of a length in a time of 71,63 secs.

Dutch Philip proved that the straight course is his forte and ran a cracker, with the tote favourite Always In Charge running a better race to get third.

The 8yo Tevez, a dual past winner of this race, gave signs that he is back to his better form after a disappointing last run to bank the R20 000 fourth cheque.

The Klawervlei Stud-bred Silicone Valley is a son of Jay Peg (Camden Park) out of the one-time winner Prize Collection (Model Man). Jay Peg interestingly campaigned in the same silks as runner-up, Dutch Philip.

A R150 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale purchase, Silicone Valley has won 6 races with 9 places from 20 starts and took his stakes earnings to R787 925.

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2 comments on “Valley Wins The Merchants

  1. Graham Martin says:

    some interesting facts with regards to the Cape Merchants won by Silicone Valley on Saturday. Silicone Valley was 2nd to Search Party in the same race last year. In last years race Silicone valley carried 56.5kgs with a merit rating of 106. Search Party carried 52kgs, with a merit rating of 96. This meant that Silicone Valley was giving Search Party 4,50kgs in weight which was quite substantial.Silicone Valley was beaten by half a length! Search Party’s merit rating increased from 96 to 106 for this win. Silicone Valley’s merit rating was hiked from 106 to 111 for running 2nd!! Search Party then travelled to Durban and performed well there to win the Durban Merchants and he ran 2nd in the Mercury sprint gr1. He was also 2nd in the Golden Horse gr1 For all this his merit rating increased from 106 to 113! Between last years Merchants and this years Merchants these two horses did not run against each other again . Silicone Valley in the mean time contested 6 races in which he ran a few places and a couple unplaced runs. His merit rating decreased from 111 to 109 and then eventually to 106 after his last two starts. His merit rating is now back to where it was in last years Merchants! Now read the following carefully!! After giving Search Party 4.50kgs and running 2nd, beaten .50 a length in last years race Silicone Valley is now RECEIVING 3.50KGS. This is a whopping 7.50 kg swing in favour of Silicone Valley!! So if 1kg is equal to 1 length what chance did Search Party have of winning this years Cape Merchants? OK i’ll tell you, ZERO! ZILCH!
    The question then arises, why did Silicone Valley’s merit rating increase from 106 to 111 for running 2nd in a race in the first place and then decrease back to 106 just before this years Merchants?
    Regards
    Graham Martin

    1. karel says:

      I looked at the ratings (Sporting Post ratings) achieved by the two horses.
      On Dec 3rd last year (the Merchants), Silicone Valley ran 104 vs Search Party 96.
      The subsequent ratings for Silicon Valley were
      106
      104
      103
      103
      92
      103
      107
      That suggests his pre-Merchants AR should be about 104-106, that is fair.
      Search Party following the 96 rating of the Merchants went
      104
      103
      90
      106
      103
      107
      109
      104
      98
      So for Search Party a pre-Merchants rating of 106-107 would probably have been right.
      Given the SPost ratings both horses should have carried about the same weight, or at most 2 points difference.
      Silicone Valley had a 3.5kg (7 points) advantage over Search Party, which equates to a little under 2 lengths (you make an error in assuming 1kg equates to 1 length – in sprint 1kg is about half a length).
      As it was Search Party (59.5kg at 6/1) ran about 10 points below best, while Silicone Valley (56kg at 12/1) posted a career-best rating in winning.
      Trust you had a bet!

      PS The most remarkable thing to emerge from this is how incredibly consistent both horses have been, the odd hiccup aside.

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