MIKE de Kock said that he had decided to prepare Ilha Bela out of Randjesfontein for the Woolavington as she had been doing well on the polytrack in her work.
Ilha Bela was an impressive 6,25 length winner of her last start, the Grade 2 SA Oaks over 2450m at Turffontein, and de Kock reckoned afterwards she was a pleasure to work with and was improving all the time.
He also made her a “big July runner” after her performance that day.
She has quite a tough draw on Saturday in a competitive field.
However, she will have no problem with Greyville as she won there impressively over 1400m towards the end of her two-year-old season when up against older horses.
She did subsequently disappoint when a well beaten favourite in the Grade 1 Thekwini over 1600m, but she has come on in leaps and bounds in her last few starts and looks set to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Ilha Da Vitoria, who had famous wins in the Grade 1 Summer Cup and Horse Chestnut Stakes, as well as the GommaGomma Challenge, in her last season.
De Kock said that his other Woolavington runner Viva Maria would “be stretched by the 2000m trip, but it was a Grade 1 so they had to try.”
He reckoned that his Daily News contender, Vettel, would prefer further.
“He’s a Derby, Gold Cup type of a horse.”
However, Vettel is an impressive specimen and caught the eye when slamming a good field in a Non-Black Type feature over 2500m at Clairwood recently.
It is interesting to note that the Gavin van Zyl-trained Shogunnar, a horse he beat by 2,5 lengths that day, was subsequently supplemented for the Daily News.
Vettel should definitely not be written off for Saturday’s big race.