MIKE de Kock won’t remember when last he’d won a race with a 100-1 shot, let alone a Graded contest, but the master trainer makes anything possible.
Golden Chateau (AUS) was arguably not that much of a longshot on form and the record now duly reflects that the handsome dark brown colt defeated a superb field of three-year-old colts and geldings in Saturday’s Gr 2 Betting World Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein – returning R62.90 for a SAFTOTE win. (Headline photo by JC Photos: Golden Chateau wins, Brooks-Club on his inside).
Lightly raced Golden Chateau was always going to improve with more maturity. His decent fifth place to Silver Flyer in the 2011 Gr 2 Dingaans attested to the fact that he was colt with an indefinite number of lengths in his tank.
His supporters will be rubbing their hands with glee for the fact that he came well in the first leg of the SASCOC Triple Crown and took the men with cigars to the cleaners on a day the stable bagged four of five feature races at the Johannesburg track. Did someone’s finger slip when the runners’ name labels were inserted and the betting boards were turned in the run-up to the race?
This time Greg Blank, who part-owns Golden Chateau with Ian van Schalkwyk and Ian Shore, won’t be too concerned about how the bookies determine their race odds. He joked after the race that that he got “80-1” and that he would be able to put supper on the table for his family on Saturday evening, but he was brimming with delight all the same and praised the stable for another good training feat.
“When you have a horse with half a chance in big races it has to be with one of the big stables, “said Blank, who held last year’s Guineas trophy when Link Man came to the party. “Ian van Schalkwyk didn’t come to the races today, we spoke this morning and he said he would be happy if Golden Chateau finished eight lengths off in a field like this, but there you have it, we’re in the winner’s box!”
Blank thanked the sponsors – Betting World – and the Racing Association for staging a spectacular day and for the assembly of such a powerful field in the Guineas. This line-up included a host of names-on-the-up – Silver Flyer, Pomodoro, Whiteline Fever and the smart favourite Slumdog Millionaire and Golden Chateau’s impressive win makes him a better than average candidate for the next two legs of SASCOC’s contest for the crown.
The way he fought on and kept finding extra in the Guineas shows that the 1800m of the SA Classic and perhaps even the 2450m of the SA Derby is within Golden Chateau’s grasp. His name was mentioned first when the field jumped from the pens and jockey Derrick David placed him handy, third, and got him to settle nicely with blinkers back on.
The field spread out across the track when they turned and started the run for home and Golden Chateau drifted towards the middle-outside of the track and found himself near the head of affairs. He was tackled first by Mike Azzie’s Potala Palace, running a cracker from a wide draw, and then by Brook’s Club, who ran on smartly on his inside.
But David coaxed a good finishing effort from Golden Chateau, who kept running strongly and held them, and a late rush from SlumDogMillionaire and Heavy Metal, at bay to win by half a length from Brooks Club.
“It’s five out of six for me in the De Kock stable, “ said a happy David, who is riding with confidence and using his chances. “I ride them the same whether they are 6-10 or 200-1 Thanks to all in the De Kock team for their efforts.”
Assistant trainer John Buckler commented: “We were most disappointed when Golden Chateau was beaten at the Vaal last time, but we had him scoped and a throat infection was detected. Well done to Derrick, Mike and his owners.”
Golden Chateau is by Grand Lodge stallion Chateau Istana, who won in the UK and Hong Kong and was considered a Group 1 performer before injury interrupted his career.
“Golden Chateau was a cheapie, it cost us more to get him to South Africa than he cost at the sale,” said Greg Blank.
-More race day reports to follow.