A total of 65 horses were nominated yesterday at first-entry stage for the R2-million Sansui Summer Cup (Grade 1) to be run over 2000m on the last Saturday in November.
They include two of Mike de Kock’s newly returned stars, Zirconeum and Rocks Off, the stable’s champion racemare Mother Russia (headline photo) and 2008 Summer Cup winner Rudra.
Zirconeum finished second in the Vodacom Durban July and Rocks Off was named the 2007-08 Equus Champion Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding after winning the Premiers Champion Stakes before they both jetted off to Dubai. Neither did that well in the desert earlier this year and have been brought back to home base.
Mother Russia took the Equus Champion Older Filly/Mare honours last season and De Kock, the country’s ruling champion trainer, will not have kept such a valuable broodmare prospect in training as a five-year-old if he did not believe she would be most competitive this season.
No other trainer has been as successful in the Summer Cup as De Kock, who has won the race a record eight times with five of those victories coming since the race was reintroduced in 1999.
Rudra, the highest rated horse among the stable’s list of entries, broke down after his Summer Cup win and was on the recuperation list for over a year. Though he has not won a race since, he did run a close-up second in the Champions Challenge earlier this year.
De Kock has entered another 14 horses for the big race including highly regarded Havasha, second in both the Gauteng Guineas and KZN Guineas earlier this year, and Top Mark, who has not quite lived up to expectations so far, as well as talented fillies like Majorca Stakes winner Gluwein, Sidera, who won the Fillies Mile on Cup day last year, and Gold Circle Oaks winner Sweetie Pie.
Last year’s Summer Cup winner Aslan is one of five runners from the yard of Sean Tarry, who finished second on the national trainers log in 2009-10. Aslan has also not won a race since that big payday, but was only pipped by Dubai-bound Bold Silvano in the Greyville 1900 earlier this year.
Another big-name entry is Gary Alexander’s Pierre Jourdan, who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown before not acting on the soft going on Champions Day at Turffontein and finishing second behind Irish Flame in the SA Derby. He has not raced since and his huge fan-base will be looking forward to seeing him in action again.
First entries for the R2-million Sansui Summer Cup (Grade 1) over 2000m:
AIRWOLF (S G Tarry); ALDERRY (M F De Kock); ALUMINIUM (G V Woodruff); ASLAN (S G Tarry); ATLANTIC OAK (M F De Kock); ATYEB (M F De Kock); BADGER LAKE (M F De Kock); BULSARA (G H Van Zyl); CALL TO COMBAT (S J Gray); CAPTAIN SCOTT (A G Laird); CATMANDU (B D Botes); CLUB VICTOR (T Lowe); CRACKER JACK (G V Woodruff); DON’T TELL TITCH (G V Woodruff); EARL OF SURREY (G V Woodruff); EXTRA COVER (A G Laird); FENERBAHCE (G M Alexander); FLIRTATION (M F De Kock); FLY OLIMPIC (G V Woodruff); FLYBYME (G V Woodruff); FLYING TRISTRAM (C Laird); FORECASTLE (C Eudey); FOREST (G V Woodruff); GALANTHUS (T Zackey); GLUWEIN (M F De Kock); GOLDEN CHARIOT (S G Tarry); HAPPY LANDING (J A Soma); HARBOR STREET (G V Woodruff); HAVASHA (M F De Kock); HOUSTON TRIP (G V Woodruff); ILIAD (R R Sage); IMMELMAN (M F De Kock); IRON CURTAIN (R R Sage); IRON WOOD (A G Laird); JET TYCOON (G V Woodruff); KILLARIDGE (W H Marwing); LAGO LIDA (G V Woodruff); LION’S BLOOD (M F De Kock); LITTLEREDCORVETTE (MDC McLachlan); MASTER BLASTER (G V Woodruff); MONSEUR ET MADAME (P F Matchett); MOTHER RUSSIA (M F De Kock); PERANA (M F De Kock); PIERRE JOURDAN (G M Alexander); POWER LORD (D Rahilly); POWER PARK (S G Tarry); PRECEDENT (P F Matchett); QUEEN MIRA (G V Woodruff); QUICK SINGLE (G V Woodruff); ROCKS OFF (M F De Kock); ROYAL ARROW (G V Woodruff); RUDI ROCKS (C Laird); RUDRA (M F De Kock); SERVICE ACE (M G Azzie); SIDERA (M F De Kock); SIR LOWRY (C Laird); SPORTING BOY (A G Laird); STRAIGHT FORWARD (M F De Kock); SUPERFEDERATION (G M Alexander); SWEETIE PIE (M F De Kock); TAMARILLO (C Eudey); THANDOLWAMI (C Eudey); TOP MARK (M F De Kock); VERTICAL TAKEOFF (S G Tarry); ZIRCONEUM (M F De Kock)
* Second entries close at 11am on Monday 1 November; final entries close at 9am on Monday 15 November; weights will be published on Monday 1 November; declarations close at 11am on Monday 15 November. The draws and final fields will be announced on Tuesday 16 November 2010.