MIKE de Kock stables 17 of the 31 entries for the R2-million President’s Champions Challenge to be run over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday 28 April.
Among his host of nominations is South Africa’s undisputed champion, Igugu, who is a winner of four Grade 1 races in less than a year. She started her run with victory in the SA Fillies Classic at Turffontein and followed that with a facile win in the Woolavington 2000 at Greyville. Those were both against three-year-old fillies but she truly showed her ability with a victory in the Vodacom Durban July.
The daughter of Galileo displayed the heart of a champion when she captured the J&B Met at Kenilworth, fighting her way to the line from an almost hopeless position, despite having an interrupted preparation.
Sansui Summer Cup winner Dancewiththedevil is also among the Champions Challenge entries as is Durban July second-placed Pierre Jourdan. Both raced on the Grade2 Hawaii Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein on Saturday and both ran on well behind Kavanagh. Pierre Jourdan ran fourth, 2.25 lengths back, and Dancewithdevil finished sixth, beaten 3.50 lengths.
The Western Cape could be represented by English Garden from the Mike Bass yard, and Run For It who is trained by Justin Snaith. English Garden performed well at Turffontein last year, winning the Grade 1 SA Classic and finishing a 2.25-length second behind Seal in the Grade 1 SA Derby.
Among the other De Kock entries is Summer Cup runner-up Ilsanpietro and third-placed Rudra, as well as dual Guineas winner Solo Traveller, who has run only twice for the yard, and another highly regarded acquisition in Galileo’s Destiny.
Captain’s Wild, who finished a neck second to Happy Landing in this race last year but has cut little ice since, is another De Kock nomination and he also has three three-year-olds on the list of entries – Gauteng Guineas winner Golden Chateau, promising Governor General and Frontino Gold.
Other three-year-olds are Sean Tarry-trained Whiteline Fever and Pomodoro, seventh and eighth behind Golden Chateau in the Gauteng Guineas.
The 31 entries in order of horse, age, sex, trainer and merit rating.
IGUGU (AUS) (4F) Mike de Kock 117
DANCEWITHTHEDEVIL (5M) St John Gray 116
PIERRE JOURDAN (5G) Gary Alexander 116
ILSANPIETRO (BRZ) (5G) Mike de Kock 111
RUN FOR IT (4C) Justin Snaith 111
ENGLISH GARDEN (4G) Mike Bass 109
SMANJEMANJE (5G) Tyrone Zackey 108
RUDRA (7G) Mike de Kock 107
SOLO TRAVELLER (4G) Mike de Kock 106
VERTICAL TAKEOFF (6G) Sean Tarry 106
GALANTHUS (5G) Tyrone Zackey 105
WHITELINE FEVER (3C) Sean Tarry 105
BERRY BLAZE (IRE) (4F) Mike de Kock 104
GALILEO’S DESTINY (4C) Mike de Kock 104
BUY AND SELL (8G) Sean Tarry 103
CAPTAIN’S WILD (5G) Mike de Kock 103
SAFWAN (AUS) (5G) Mike de Kock 103
GOLDEN CHATEAU (AUS) (3C) Mike de Kock 102
POMODORO (3C) Sean Tarry 102
KNOCK ON WOOD (4G) Ormond Ferraris 100
FLIRTATION (5M) Mike de Kock 99
ATLANTIC OAK (GB) (5M) Mike de Kock 98
MASAI WARRIOR (4C) Mike Azzie 96
MEADOW MAGIC (4G) Mike de Kock 96
SAGE THRONE (4G) Colin Scott 96
EUROPA POINT (IRE) (5M) Mike de Kock 95
ATYEB (AUS) (5H) Mike de Kock 94
DUNRAVEN (4G) Mike de Kock 93
GOVERNOR GENERAL (3C) Mike de Kock 92
POWER LORD (5G) David Rahilly 92
FRONTINO GOLD (AUS) (3C) Mike de Kock 90