YOU won’t be offered a double bet of near 50-1 about a pair of Mike de Kock runners in South Africa every day, so last Sunday’s 71.5-1 odds at Starting Price on Donegal (12-1) and Rich Strike (9-2), would have been a tempting little fun bet for a number of the stable’s followers – if only by virtue of the fact that this was a rare occurence.
The staunchest punters among them would have been able to take an amazing 203 to 1 at opening odds, because Donegal was priced up at 33-1 before his figures tumbled to 12-1. You could pinch some 5s about Rich Strike in the morning betting.
Whomever had placed money on the formless Donegal would have viewed it as no more than a possibly (very) optimistic wager, but he ran a big race under jockey Warren Kennedy and was just pipped in a heads-down, heads-up photo finish by Spanish Journal. As fate, or luck would have it, Donegal was awarded victory after Kennedy successfully contested the result on the grounds of interference by his closest rival in the latter stages. Their positions were reversed as a consequence.
Rich Strike: Good over ground, and likes blinkers.
Mike’s KZN assistant-in-chief, Nathan Kotzen, would have been well content to spend his Sunday at home while sending the stable’s “junior”, Tammy Dawson, to do the saddling duties in Pietermaritzburg, but Tammy had the last laugh. Asked to explain Donegal’s improved run, she offered that he was fitted with blinkers for the first time, a vital form factor overlooked by most pundits. She added that the stable would make sure that the scoops are added to his kit in future.
There has never been much doubt that Rich Strike would win his fair share of races. In Race 8 over 1950m, his recent spell of below-par runs was also broken by the addition of blinkers. Anthony Delpech delivered the son of Strike Smartly with a strong run near the standside rail and he ran on gamely to beat Captain Spike by a head.
And so Scottsville, 7/11/2010, brought two winners from two runners – one quite unexpected, the other at a good price considering his ability. Tammy enjoyed a successful day at the ponies, Natie had a chance to kick back on a lazy Sunday , Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum added a brace of winners to his ever-growing tally and in Jo’burg Mike concentrated on the business of picking more noble steeds to earn stakes for the yard at about next year this time.
Headline photo: Donegal (far side), won on objection.