MIKE de Kock will saddle nearly a quarter of the field when the R600,000 Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile is run over 1600m at Turffontein next week.
De Kock won this race last year with Alderry and will be hoping that he can score the double when he saddles Rudra, Kavanagh, Flirtation, Welwitschia and Empenoso Henn.
His team enjoyed mixed fortunes in the ballot for barrier positions at Emperors Palace on Wednesday with Rudra (fourth from a bad draw in the Premier’s Champions Challenge earlier this year) and three-time winner Empenoso Henn (who takes a huge step up in class) drawing at Nos 2 and 3 respectively, with highly rated Kavanagh and Welwitschia, winner of the recent Joburg Spring Fillies And Mares Challenge, pulling Nos 9 and 10 respectively and Flirtation, who has good feature form to her credit, drawing widest of all at 18.
Stalwart Rudra will take his place.
The De Kock horses will represent the Racing Association-nominated charity San Michele (Rudra, who will be publicly represented by Karolina Sky) and Daily Sun-nominated Thokomala – KZN (Kavanagh, who will be publicly represented by Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela) as well as the Peermont Emperors Palace-nominated charities Fortune Kunene Primary After Care Center (Flirtation – Anele Mdoda), which got the R100,000 last year, Umkhathizwe Primary After Care Center (Welwitschia – Paul Almeida) and Nageng Primary After Care Centre (Empenoso Henn – Neil Andrews).
Champion “miler” Dancewiththedevil, who will run for Peermont Emperors Palace’s charity Thembakazi Primary After Care Centre and will be publicly represented by ProVerb, has been set a tough task in her bid to retain her 1600m crown. The handicappers have allotted St John Gray’s Modus Vivendi mare the welter burden of 61.5kg and she drew wide at No 13, so Gavin Lerena, who understands her quirks, is not going to have an easy task.
Her trainer commented yesterday: “I’m disappointed with the draw and she has tough task at the weights.”
Her stable companion Engagement (Reahile Primary After Care Centre and to be represented by Hykie Berg) drew at No 15.
Pierre Jourdan, who is also set to be high up on bookmakers’ boards, fared better in the ballot with trainer Gary Alexander’s sister Julie pulling No 8 draw for the Parade Leader gelding. The SoapGirls will be hoping he wins for the Animal Anti-Cruelty League, nominated by The Citizen.
“I’m happy with No 8 draw for him. He’s never been a front-runner, so it will give Derreck (David) options about where to place him. Hopefully we get a bit of rain before the race to slow the track up. The tracks are running very fast at the moment.
“Work-wise so far, so good. He’s working lovely and he’s getting better all the time. But these races are always competitive. And his main mission this summer is the Sansui Summer Cup hosted by Gauteng.”
Gavin van Zyl’s sole runner, Bulsara, also did not do well when the barrier positions were decided, pulling No 14 draw. Many racing fans will believe that his big-race jockey Raymond Danielson, who is an expert at overcoming wide draws, will go a long way towards nullifying that disadvantage, though.
The trainer said: “That draw does not excite me. He’s going to have to get lucky from there.”
He continued that, although Bulsara’s two races so far this season had not been quite as good as anticipated – “We didn’t overdo him for the Joburg Spring Challenge, where he ran seventh behind Gibraltar Blue, and he did improve but was a bit disappointing in his next race” – he believes the Silvano five-year-old will “hopefully be spot-on for this race”.
He did point out, though, that this race was part of Bulsara’s preparation into the Summer Cup. Bulsara will run for Jongimfundo Primary After Care Centre and will be represented by Leanne Manas.
Paul Gadsby’s KwaZulu-Natal raider Black Wing, who finished a close fourth behind Van Zyl’s The Apache in last season’s Grade 1 Daily News 2000, drEw at pole position, while DJ Detzky, who many believe is the best “long-shot” in the field, drew wide at No 17.
The final field in order of saddle-cloth number, draw, horse, trainer, jockey, weight (including the jockey and his equipment) and merit rating (the handicappers’ assessment of the horse’s ability depicted in half kilograms), the charity for which the horse will run, the celebrity who will represent the horse and the charity’s sponsor:
|1||13||DANCEWITHTHEDEVIL||SJ Gray||G Lerena||61.5||113||THEMBAKAZI PRIMARY SCHOOL, VOSLOORUS||ProVerb||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|2||8||PIERRE JOURDAN||GM Alexander||D David||61.0||112||ANIMAL ANTI-CRUELTY LEAGUE||The SoapGirls||The Citizen|
|3||2||RUDRA||MF de Kock||JP v.d. Merwe||59.5||109||SAN MICHELE||Karolina Sky||Racing Association|
|4||14||BULSARA||GH van Zyl||R Danielson||59.0||108||JONGIMFUNDO PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, VOSLOORUS||Leanne Manas||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|5||1||BLACK WING||PM Gadsby||S Veale||58.5||107||MAPHANZELA PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, THOKOZA||Elana Afrika||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|6||9||KAVANAGH||MF de Kock||A Delpech||58.5||107||THOKOMALA KwaZulu-Natal||Alfred Ntombela||Daily Sun|
|7||4||TWO TONE||MG Azzie||M Yeni||58.0||106||WELAMLAMBO PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, TEMBISA||Tarina Patel||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|8||18||FLIRTATION||MF de Kock||W Marwing||57.0||104||FORTUNE KUNENE AFTER CARE CENTER, VOSLOORUS||Anele Mdoda||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|9||10||WELWITSCHIA||MF de Kock||A Marcus||56.5||105||UMKHATHIZE PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, THOKOZA||Paul Almeida||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|10||5||THE MOUSEKETEER||SG Tarry||N Juglall||56.0||102||STAR SCHOOLS EKURHULENI||Lebo Mabotja||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|11||3||EMPENOSO HENN||MF de Kock||T Appie||55.5||101||NAGENG PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, VOSLOORUS||Neil Andrews||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|12||12||KNOCK ON WOOD||OA Ferraris||R Simons||55.0||100||PACE CAREER GUIDANCE||Brian Mitchell||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|13||7||MIKE’S CHOICE||ML Roberts||B Lerena||54.5||99||HIGHVELD HORSE CARE UNIT||Ryk Neethling||Phumelela|
|14||17||DJ DETZKY||LW Goosen||P Strydom||54.0||98||KHANGEZILE PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, KWATHEMA||Bailey Schneider||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|15||15||ENGAGEMENT||SJ Gray||S Chambers||54.0||98||REAHILE PRIMARY AFTER CARE CENTER, KATHLEHONG||Hykie Berg||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|16||11||WITTENBERG||GV Woodruff||D Mansour||54.0||98||EMPERORS PALACE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT||Paul Rotherham||Peermont Emperors Palace|
|17||16||ACROSS THE ICE||SG Tarry||54.0||98|
|Coupled for Pick 6 ONLY: (1, 15); (3, 6, 8, 9, 11); (10, 17).|