THE stable saddled no fewer than 32 runners at the Meydan and Turffontein meetings on Saturday. Although Mike didn’t manage a winner at the big Dubai meeting, the overall statistics show two winners, five seconds, four thirds and five fourths, not a bad day at the offices of De Kock International.
At Turffontein’s Classic Day, Checceti (14-1) captured the Gr3 Jacaranda Handicap over 1800m from stablemate Flirtation, and Atyeb (33-10) rounded off a good day when he nudged out his work partner Il Sanpietro in the Caradoc Gold Cup over 2850m, which also carries Gr 3 status.
Without Malice led the Jacaranda field into the straight with Flirtation in midfield and Checceti having to be dropped out to last from a wide draw. Most of the 11-strong field had chances going through the 400m mark, but it was Flirtation, in the centre of the track, who made the first strong move and raced into the lead with 250m to run, getting the measure of dangerous-looking Hawker Hunter.
Checceti, meanwhile, had made steady headway near the far side fence and started throwing out a challenge of her own. She finished best of all under a well-judged ride from Tshwaro Appie and won going away.
“Checceti normally fades when she races handy, so all credit to John Buckler, who suggested we drop her out today,” Appie said. “She switched off and we snuck through along the fence after I gave her a few cracks.”
“I came for the trophy,” said a delighted Tony Moodley, who owns Checceti with Mike de Kock , Vanessa Harrison and Mick Goss’ Summerhill Syndicate. She’s a four-year-old by Kahal from Dancer’s Choice by Royal Prerogative.
Atyeb and Il San Pietro were considered to be the sole contenders for first prize in the Caradoc marathon and so it proved to be. They went virtually side by side for the last 300m of the race and it was Atyeb, in receipt of 3.5kg from his more accomplished stable rival, that bagged the winner’s cheque for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and Anthony Delpech.
“He’s getting stronger and better and he actually quickened well tonight,” said Delpech about the big Atyeb. “He is an out-and-out stayer and I think it’s Gold Cup here we come!” he added.
Silver Flyer, back to top form, ran a big race in the Gr1 SA Classic over 1800m, flying up for third behind Slumdogmillionaire. The stable also ran 2-3-4 respectively with stalwart Rudra, Solo Traveller and Kavanagh, respectively, in the Gr 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m.