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MIKE de Kock is happy with all five of his Vodacom Durban July contenders, and is expecting good runs from all of them in Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event. DAVID THISELTON filed this interview with Mike a week away from the big day.
Mike’s charge Igugu is the ruling 28-10 favourite and will attempt to become the fourth three-year-old filly in history to win the July following Peerless in 1903, Migraine in 1957 and the de Kock-trained Ipi Tombe in 2002.
Comparing Igugu to Ipi Tombe, De Kock said, “They are two different types of horses as Ipi Tombe had a lot more speed.”
In contrast Igugu appears to get better the further she goes and De Kock pointed out that she can run from the front or come from off the pace.
De Kock finds the three-year-old colts difficult to assess this year, but has no such qualms about the three-year-old fillies, especially the Triple Tiara-winning superstar Igugu.
“She ran against older fillies like Headstrong, Miss Turbulence and Alderry at weight-for-age terms in just her third career start and killed them,” he said. “In her last start she beat the Grade 1 winner Emerald Cove comfortably.”
Ipi Tombe, 2002 VDJ winner.
Ipi Tombe won the Woolavington hard held in her last start before the July by 2,25 lengths, while Igugu led all the way to win that same race by 2,75 lengths.
De Kock is very happy with Igugu’s draw of 10, while the 12-1 shot Galileo’s Destiny is drawn even better in stall eight.
Like Igugu, Galileo’s Destiny is by Galileo, one of the world’s leading sires.
He had his first run for the De Kock yard in the Grade 3 Cup Trial over 1800m on June 13 and lost by 1,5 lengths to Super Storm, whom he will face on 0,5kg better terms in the July.
He said, “Galileo’s Destiny is doing very well. He needed his last run and is improving all the time.”
Galileo’s Destiny finished in the top three in five Graded races for Charles Laird, including the Grade 1 SA Classic over 1800m and Grade 1 SA Derby over 2450m.
De Kock said about the three-year-old colts, “A new one seems to win every time, but the one three-year-old who did run against older horses, Run For It, ran third in the J&B Met. That was a helluva run, although it was in a very slow run race. He hasn’t produced that form again, but I make him the best of the three-year-old colts.”
He said of his Grade 1 Summer Cup winner, Flirtation, who hasn’t run since finishing third in the Grade 1 Champions Challenge, “She is doing very well and I think for an older filly she is well weighted. She runs very well fresh.”
She unfortunately has the widest draw of all but that didn’t stop the de Kock-trained three-year-old filly Zirconeum from finishing second in 2009.
De Kock’s other two runners are the 66-1 and 100-1 outsiders Captain’s Wild and Safwan respectively.
Many suspect the latter could be used to set a good pace like the yard’s runner Red Rake did last year.
“I will decide on the day how we will run him,” said De Kock.
Captain’s Wild showed his suitability to the trip when running on well, albeit in a slow run race, for a narrow second in the Champions Challenge over 2000m, beating Vdoacom Durban July contenders Flirtation and Bulsara.
He ran well down the field in the Cup Trial last time in soft ground in what was likely a preparation outing and he has a tough draw of 18 in the July.
De Kock views Run For It as his main danger and also mentioned Bravura as a horse who was at the top of a good generation.