Kaapfever too hot for Cup rivals

Joe Pride has taken a leaf out of the book of his former mentor John Size by winning the Listed Australia Day Cup with Kaapfever on a four-day back-up. 

The 2400 metre race was always on Pride’s radar and when Kaapfever pulled up well from his fast-finishing third behind Toomuchtobear at Randwick on Saturday, he pushed on with his plan. 

“It’s something I got off the old boss [Size], the back-up is king,” Pride said. “I’m not sure of the science behind it but if you can do it at the right time, horses just thrive. 

“It’s one thing to say you’re going to back up, but I needed to see something from him on Saturday that suggested he should back up and what I’ve seen since then is the horse thrive, so I knew it was the right thing to run him again.” 

Kaapfever repaid Pride’s faith with a strong staying performance, coming from the rear to run down Parry Sound in the final bounds and give the trainer his third Australia Day Cup victory and first at his home track of Warwick Farm. 

Pride’s previous wins came with Destiny’s Kiss in 2016-17 when the race was held at Randwick. 

While Pride doesn’t have the numbers of some of the bigger stables, his hands-on approach achieves tremendous results and his decision to back-up Kaapfever is a case in point. 

The victory was also significant for Alysha Collett, who made the trip to Warwick Farm for one ride. It was the jockey’s first stakes success since she relocated from Singapore to Sydney last year and she said the solid race tempo suited the seven-year-old.  

“The opportunity to win this race today was if it was a really true-run 2400 metres and when I was off the bit about the mile I thought, this is great,” Collett said. “It was fantastic to get this horse the win, he deserves it.” 

Kaapfever ($12) prevailed by a half-length over Parry Sound ($4.20), with Mubariz ($4 equal favourite) best of the rest as a distant third.