CLASSIC Day at Turffontein on Saturday is the perfect curtain-raiser for the evening’s Dubai World Cup spectacular at Meydan and the De Kock stable is geared for success at both venues.
Assistant trainer John Buckler will be steering the ship in Johannesburg, where 14 runners have been entered in various races, including the three Grade 1 races and five Grade 3’s on a mouthwatering card.
The R2-million Grade 1 SA Classic for colts and geldings and its R1-million equivalent for fillies form the second leg of the SASCOC Triple Crown and the Triple Tiara for fillies respectively.
The stable’s ace three-year-old Link Man won the Guineas, while star filly Igugu took the Fillies Guineas. There is a R2-million bonus for any horse who can win all three legs of the Triple Crown and a R1-million bonus for the Triple Tiara winner.
Mike gave pointers on all his local runners, speaking from Dubai on Thursday.
“Link Man is in top shape and I am not concerned about the distance. He won the Guineas running strongly. Perana has all the talent to make them run, but he’s a quirky horse at Turffontein. He was slow away in the Guineas and will be better suited to 1800m. He’s very capable, he can make dramatic improvement and we expect him to be a factor. Dark Wind is fit and well. He’s probably more of a Derby-type horse, but he should be in the thick of things too, he’s no slouch.”
Dark Wind: Classic contender. (JC Photos).
SA Fillies Guineas
“Igugu is our leader of the pack, we’re excited about her, she should enjoy the 1800m and will be hard to beat. Berry Blaze is a nice filly, I believe she’s in this league. Her last run looks disappointing, but she had excuses and I think she’s a top three contender here, look out for her. Checcetti is good enough to earn a minor stake.”
Horse Chestnut Stakes
“Kavanagh is a top horse, we’ve never made a secret of that, and it will be interesting to see how he shapes against the older horses. His run will give us a line on our three-year-olds. There are some good older runners in the race, Earl Of Surrey, Tales Of Bravery, Regal Ransom, it’s a hot field, but Kavanagh should give a good account, he is very well.”
“Our newcomer Royal Ridge will be taking on winners in this Grade 3 race, but due to the paucity of programming our choices are limited and we have to start with him here. He’s a nice sort, will benefit from the experience on his debut but is one to keep a close eye on.
“Alderry is a run short of her best, but she’s in fillies class and she normally runs well when she’s fresh so she has a chance. Fisani ran a big race last time, she’s come back to her best. We used different tactics and it paid off, she should go close. Laverna has come way down in ratings and as a former Grade 1 winner she has an outside chance on that alone. She’s better than her recent form and she’s working well.”
Man O’War Stakes
“Burmese Cat is a problematic horse and he’s been off for a long time. He’ll come on with this run, we’ll be hoping for a place.”
Caradoc Gold Cup
Il San Pietro has had an excellent season with three successive feature wins and I think after all that he’s only now at his best and should be highly competitive again. Lion’s Blood is well exposed, he hasn’t won for a long time, but he’s put in a few fair efforts this season and he’s better off at the weights with Il Sanpietro, he should be thereabouts.