CHAMPIONS Day at Turffontein was a dazzling success for Mike de Kock and patron Mary Slack, who captured the Gr1 President’s Champion Challenge with Europa Point and three Gr2’s with Welwitschia (Camellia Stakes), Ilha Bela (SA Oaks) and Gorongosa (Gold Bowl) respectively. The stable also lifted the Gr1 SA Nursery with unbeaten Soft Falling Rain, owned by Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai. (more reports to follow).
In all, the yard dominated the spectacular meeting with a mind-boggling array of five sensational wins from ten carded races and over R2, 340,000 in gross stakes earnings.
Europa Point made it six-in-a-row when she defeated some of the best males in the land in the R2 million Champions Challenge, running on from off the pace to beat Galanthus by a length, with Smanjemanje in third and Sage Throne fourth.
“Mike’s a genius, especially at training fillies,” said a delighted jockey Anthony Delpech after the race. “With Igugu going (overseas), it’s great to have a replacement like Europa Point. I am blessed to be riding for the stable and thanks and well done to Mary, who has been very loyal to me.”
He said about the race: “Mike asked me to be patient and coming around the bend we were behind runners and kissing them. Europa Point has a turn of foot, she’s very good and we mowed them down!” “Europa Point is a gifted filly with plenty of ability,” commented Mike, who observed that she was “deceptively good” after she’d won on Summer Cup Day in November last year, promising more to come.
“There was never any pace and it suited Europa Point,” he added. “The first two into the home run finished second and third. Europa Point was the only one that ran on.” Mike praised Mary for her long support of the stable and said: “It’s wonderful that a plan we made several years ago is coming to fruition,” referring to Mary’s policy of buying top-class imported fillies for racing and breeding. “There may still be an international campaign for Europa Point.”
Mary commented: “Europa Point is a fantastic filly, with a great trainer and a great jockey. I don’t know about racing out of the country, but I’d be keen to put her in foal overseas.” Superbly-pedigreed Europa Point is by Rock Of Gibraltar from the Woodman-mare, Gorband. Her close relatives include the unbeaten Irish Stakes winner, Harbour Watch.
Headline photo: Europa Point (red, black silks) wins the President’s Champions Challenge.