POTALA Palace, Merhee and Straw Market are dominating the betting on the Investec Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein tomorrow, but champion trainer Mike de Kock reckons the Grade 2 event is wide open.
De Kock will saddle five of the runners including Merhee, who is currently disputing favouritism with Potala Palace.
“A lot of people are talking about it being a two-horse race, but I think they’re getting ahead of themselves. It’s a very competitive field and I reckon there are some 10 horses with a chance,” he said.
“All Merhee has done at this point is win a maiden. I need to find out fairly soon how good he is because I would like to export him, so I am throwing him in at the deep end. He shouldn’t mind it soft, he’s bred for the distance and he’s got the makings of a nice horse. But I’m not getting excited yet. When the day’s done we’ll have a real idea of how good he is.
“I’m very happy with Mushreq’s preparation and his last run was very good. He may not be suited to a soft surface and he’s a Derby-type horse who is looking for further than 1600m. But he’ll be kicking in when others are getting tired.
“Silver Flyer is a top horse, but has become very difficult lately and needs to be gelded. Frontino Gold has a low action and might need firmer going than could be the case on Saturday. He’s a very nice sort though, he’ll like the 1600m and it won’t surprise me if he’s in at the finish.
“Golden Chateau has lots of scope and is also looking for 1600m and further. He has been very green in his three races and we’re putting blinkers on now.
“Merhee and Mushreq are probably the pick of my runners. They all work together a lot and there’s not that much between them, but what’s unknown with Merhee is how much he will improve.”
Photo: Mushreq (blue silks), winning his Maiden. (Gold Circle).