ON the whole Mike de Kock’s horses for the three major races on SA Classic day at Turffontein on Saturday 26 March have fared well in the ballot for barrier positions.
The Grade 1 races at the meeting are the R2-million SA Classic, the richest race for three-year-olds in Africa, the R1-million SA Fillies Classic and the R1-million HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes.
The SA Classic over 1800m forms the second leg of the SA Triple Crown, a series of three races for three-year-olds that started with the Gauteng Guineas over 1600m last month. It ends with the SA Derby over 2450m on Champions Day on 30 April and there’s a R2-million bonus for winning all three legs. The SA Fillies Classic is Leg 2 of the Triple Tiara for three-year-old fillies which offers a R1-million bonus for victory in all three legs.
Allderry: Horse Chestnut Stakes entry.
The Triple Tiara began with the Gauteng Fillies Guineas last month and ends with the SA Oaks on Champions Day.
De Kock won both the Gauteng Guineas (Link Man beat stablemate Kavanagh) and the Gauteng Fillies Guineas (Igugu) and many pundits expect the ruling champion trainer to dominate again on Classic day.
The 1800m distance of the SA Classic will test Link Man’s reserves of stamina to the limit. He did, however, pull a single-figure draw at No 9 of the 19 entries and the handsome grey is likely to come in a couple of stalls when the final field is declared later this week.
The first three in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas, Igugu (barrier position No 4), Hollywoodboulevard (2) and the winner’s stablemate Welwitschia (9) were also fortunate in the ballot for starting gate positions.
Welwitschia went on to win a good race at Turffontein last Saturday, showing good improvement to post her second career win in only three career starts. She probably has more improvement to come than Igugu, who will relish the 200m longer distance, and Hollywoodboulevard, but De Kock said she might give the SA Fillies Classic a miss.
He commented on his website: “If we race both of them one will have to lose! We’ll keep our options open. Welwitschia is very talented and there are a few other races we can consider. It’s exciting to have two such brilliant fillies in the stable at the same time.’’
Cape-based raiders Fort Vogue and English Garden, who both pleased trainer Mike Bass by putting in promising Highveld debuts on Saturday, and Vaughan Marshall-trained Tales Of Bravery drew well for the weight-for-age Horse Chestnut Stakes. Fort Vogue pulled No 6 berth with English Garden at No 4 and Tales Of Bravery in pole position.
Three-year-old stars Link Man and Kavanagh, who hold dual nominations, drew at 19 and 10 respectively. Big-race entries in order of draw, horse, age, sex, weight, merit rating and trainer:
R2-million SA Classic (G1) over 1800m:
9 LINK MAN (3C) 58.0 111 A Mike de Kock
2 KAVANAGH (3C) 58.0 106 BA Mike de Kock
10 PERANA (AUS) (3C) 58.0 105 A Mike de Kock
13 GALILEO’S DESTINY (3C) 58.0 104 A Charles Laird
12 TOP SELLER (3C) 58.0 103 BA Vaughan Marshall
7 NOT LIABLE (3G) 58.0 101 A Charles Laird
15 SNOWDON (3C) 58.0 101 A Ormond Ferraris
5 GOLD ONYX (NZ) (3G) 58.0 100 AT Sean Tarry
3 APPROACHABLE (3C) 58.0 98 A Weiho Marwing
14 ROMAN WALL (3C) 58.0 98 AT Sean Tarry
4 DARK WIND (3G) 58.0 97 A Mike de Kock
19 ENGLISH GARDEN (3G) 58.0 94 A Mike Bass
8 SUPER TROUPER (3C) 58.0 93 A St John Gray
6 MONEY GRUBBER (3G) 58.0 90 A Gavin van Zyl
17 KINGS ENTOURAGE (3G) 58.0 88 A Lucky Houdalakis
18 BELMONTE (3G) 58.0 87 A Saeed Mohideen
11 THE RAJ (3G) 58.0 86 A Mike de Kock
16 SEPTEMBER WIND (3C) 58.0 84 A Gary Alexander
1 JOE KOOL (3G) 58.0 75 AT Barend Botes
R1-million SA Fillies Classic (G1) over 1800m
4 IGUGU (AUS) (3F) 58.0 107 A Mike de Kock
2 HOLLYWOODBOULEVARD (3F) 58.0 103 A Charles Laird
9 WELWITSCHIA (GB) (3F) 58.0 99 A Mike de Kock
11 CHECCETTI (3F) 58.0 97 BA Mike de Kock
6 STORMY COAST (3F) 58.0 94 A George Scott
13 LAS RAMBLAS (3F) 58.0 90 A James Goodman
1 CHANCES ARE (3F) 58.0 89 A Joe Soma
3 PRINCESS OF LIGHT (3F) 58.0 89 A Geoff Woodruff
12 JUSTTHEWAYYOUARE (3F) 58.0 88 A Geoff Woodruff
5 RUNNING RIVULET (3F) 58.0 87 A Weiho Marwing
10 LOUVRE (3F) 58.0 82 A Weiho Marwing
7 #BERRY BLAZE (IRE) (3F) 58.0 80 A Mike de Kock
14 RED DELICIOUS (3F) 58.0 76 AT Sean Tarry
8 NATIONAL EXECUTIVE (3F) 58.0 74 A Paul Matchett
R1-million Horse Chestnut Stakes (G1, weight-for-age) over 1600m:
12 EARL OF SURREY (ZI (7G) 60.0 114 BA Geoff Woodruff
2 BUY AND SELL (7G) 60.0 111 AT Sean Tarry
1 TALES OF BRAVERY (4G) 60.0 111 A Vaughan Marshall
3 REGAL RANSOM (5G) 60.0 110 A Sean Tarry
16 ARABIAN MIST (6G) 60.0 108 BA Gary Alexander
7 BULSARA (4G) 60.0 108 BA Gavin van Zyl
13 CAPTAIN’S SECRET (4G) 60.0 105 A Mike Bass
6 FORT VOGUE (5G) 60.0 104 BAT Mike Bass
11 REBEL KNIGHT (4G) 60.0 104 A Gary Alexander
18 GALILEO’S GALAXY ( (4C) 60.0 103 AT Charles Laird
17 OZYMANDIAS (4G) 60.0 103 A Weiho Marwing
5 CALL TO COMBAT (5H) 60.0 102 BA St John Gray
8 CAPTAIN’S WILD (4G) 60.0 91 A Mike de Kock
15 ALDERRY (4F) 57.5 104 BA Mike de Kock
14 GOAT (5M) 57.5 101 BAT Paul Lafferty
9 DANCEWITHTHEDEVIL (4F) 57.5 95 A St John Gray
19 LINK MAN (3C) 57.0 111 A Mike de Kock
10 KAVANAGH (3C) 57.0 106 BA Mike de Kock
4 ENGLISH GARDEN (3G) 57.0 94 A Mike Bass