The Corne Spies trained Van Halen was the object of sustained betting support prior to the running of the G1 World Sports Betting Mercury Sprint (1200m) at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.
The talented five-year-old, victorious in the 2018 G1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion, was backed down from 11-1 into 21-4, and duly arrived.
Under jockey Craig Zackey, Van Halen made the most of his pole position draw, and stormed home down the inside of the Greyville track to score by 1.6 lengths.
Front runner, and recent G1 Golden Horse Sprint winner, Warrior’s Rest (13-1), ran a cracking race while trying to make all and finished second, with a wall of horses challenging for the minor positions. Cape raider Fabian (13-1) just snatched third in a thrilling contest, which saw less than half a length separate the second, third, fourth and fifth place finishers.
Tote favourite, and defending champion, Kasimir (15-10) proved unable to overcome a wide draw of 12, and faded out to finish sixth.
Bred by Limpo Retailing, Van Halen stopped the clock in a time of 70 seconds.
Now a seven time winner from 24 starts, Van Halen pushed his earnings to R1 317 188 with his Mercury Sprint success.
A R100 000 buy from the 2017 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, Van Halen is one of 58 stakes winners for Danehill’s triple G1 winning son, and former Coolmore shuttler, Oratorio.
He is out of G1 Allan Robertson Championship third placegetter Rock Concert –whose full-sister, and Equus Champion, Rock Opera, is the dam of G1 Criterium International winner and young Aquis stallion Royal Meeting.