JACK Milner, editor of Racing Express, believes that the De Kock stable will provide punters with two bankers on Saturday’s Turffontein card, both to be ridden by Anthony Delpech.
He writes: “De Kock sends out Berry Blaze in Race 4, a Conditions Plate for fillies and mares over 1450m on the inside track. She is the best-handicapped runner and should be giving between 2kg and 13.5kg to the balance of the runners. As it stands, she carries 58kg and looks impossible to oppose.
Earl De Grey could follow up on last week’s win.
“Like stable companions Gibraltar Blue and Welwitschia, Berry Blaze was foaled in the northern hemisphere so is some seven months younger than her local opposition. That makes quite a big difference for three-year-olds but now that she has turned four, she is catching up with the other fillies in her age group.
“Therefore, she should be far more mature than when she finished 4.25 lengths off stablemate Igugu in the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 at Greyville or when she was beaten 0.50 lengths by Beach Beauty in the Grade 2 Fillies Guineas after losing three lengths at the start.
“The only concern is that she has been slowly out of the pens in all of her six starts to date but hopefully De Kock has managed to solve that problem during a 147-day break from the racetrack.
“Carey’s Qui ran a great race when a three-length fourth to Welwitschia in the Grade 3 Joburg Spring Fillies Challenge at level weights over this course and distance earlier this month. She will have to give 2kg to Berry Blaze, which could prove an impossible hurdle to overcome, but she does have Piere Strydom in the irons and he will, as he did last time, try to set the pace. If Berry Blaze gives too much start, she could find herself in trouble.
“De Kock also saddles Earl De Grey in Race 6, a MR 69 Handicap over 2600m. The thee-year-old Grey’s Inn gelding made his Gauteng debut over this course and distance last Saturday and was never in trouble as he ran out a winner by 5.25 lengths. Although he only contested a Maiden Plate that day, Earl De Grey is not meeting a much stronger field here and he should notch up his second successive victory.
“No doubt De Kock will be hoping for a stronger pace than he got in the Listed Java Handicap on Tuesday night over 2450m on the standside track. Jockeys, whose horses were carrying just 54kg and 52kg, languished at the back of the field while Chico Azul and Ilsanpietro (carrying 61.5kg) were allowed to bowl along at sedate pace some 10 lengths clear of the balance.
“De Kock’s challenge for the stipendiary stewards to hold an inquiry into the riding in the race clearly fell on deaf ears as no action was announced. Hopefully Earl De Grey will get the pace he needs here. He won in a decent time and carries just 1kg more than last week.”