THE stable fields five top fillies in the Grade 1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein on Tuesday night but despite his powerful hand, Mike de Kock believes that St John Gray’s Dancewiththedevil is the filly to beat.
2010 Summer Cup winner Flirtation, 2010 November Mile Handicap heroine Alderry, 2010 Gauteng Fillies Guineas winner Fisani, eight-time winning Listed victor Headstrong and highly regarded newcomer Welwitschia will make sure that the yard takes a chunk of the prize money, but Mike is not sure whether any of them can topple Dancewiththedevil to claim the winner’s cheque in this R1 million thriller.
He said: “Dancewiththedevil took a quantum leap against top male runners last time to win the Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes and she won it very well too. On that single line of form we will be lucky to beat her.
“I suppose the wet track on Horse Chestnut day played a role and may have either suited Dancewiththedevil perfectly or literally sunk her rivals on the day, so she has to confirm the form, but she looks well above average. I think a slow pace will suit my runners best and give us a chance to upstage her.”
Of his Formidable Five, Mike said: “We are leaning towards Welwitschia, who isn’t near as accomplished as the others yet, but looks very talented. She is inexperienced still and faces a stiff task but we’re hoping she can rise to the occasion. She gets a weight-for-age and Northern Hemisphere Allowance, those are important factors in our favour.”
“Alderry is doing well, she is 4kg better off at the weights with Fisani and is likely to be right there, although Fisani has regained her confidence and she’s improved. She won’t be a pushover.
“Flirtation is a run short of her peak, but she’s a light-framed filly with plenty of ability and she, too, won’t be far off. Headstrong is all heart, but the mile this level is a stretch for her.”
Photo: Fisani (yellow silks): no pushover. (JC Photos)