Soqrat may rise to challenge

THERE were a lot of locals miffed at Mike de Kock referring to Greyville as a ‘go-cart’ track after Soqrat finished up fourth in the KRA Guineas but it was a performance way below what the Australian import is capable off and he did have excuses, writes ANDREW HARRISON of Gold Circle.

A wide draw over the Greyville 1600m is always a concern but Santa Clara had shown in the KRA Fillies Guineas, a half-hour before, that it is not an insurmountable obstacle.

However, one does need the cards to fall in your favour in a competitive race and Randal Simons’ decision to slot in behind and ending up way out of his ground instead of pushing forward from the draw may have cost him.

Whatever, you commit early and take your medicine.

Soqrat, classic miler.

Soqrat, classic miler.

Soqrat has a plum draw of four in the Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge over the same course and distance tomorrow and victory will almost certainly see him garner an Equus award come season’s end.

Soqrat showed tremendous courage when fighting off the challenge of Cirillo in the Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and the Gr1 Cape Guineas winner was less than a length back to Do It Again in the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queens Plate, both races against older opposition.

He faces a similar task tomorrow in the face of what has stacked up into the strongest Rising Sun Gold Challenge field seen in the past decade.

De Kock commented:  “He’s had a long season but shows no signs of it. He is very well, there are other top horses in the race but he could be all over them!”

Do It Again is again in opposition but this will be his first outing back since finishing second in the Sun Met at the end of January and although Justin Snaith has expressed confidence that his charge is close to his best, he will need to be sharp to win a race of this nature off a break.

Rainbow Bridge had to bend his knee to Do It Again in the Queens Plate but the favour was returned in the Sun Met, although Richard Fourie copped a fair amount of criticism for his handling of Do It Again.

This time around Rainbow Bridge has had a superb blow-out in the Drill Hall Stakes when under a length back to class act Undercover Agent and over the extra furlong, Eric Sands will be looking to turn the tables, or at least a sharp showing in the gelding’s build-up to the Vodacom Durban July.

Anton Marcus will be in the saddle for Rainbow Bridge and he was also aboard the gelding’s half-brother, and ruling VDJ ante-post favourite, Hawwaam, in the Gr1 Daily News 2000 last week.

Quizzed on who is likely to ride Hawwaam in the July, Mike de Kock was non-committal. “Speak to the king,” he shrugged. “He has a few balls in the air.”

The picture might be clearer come Saturday evening.