THREE more winners were added to Mike de Kock’s fast-growing seasonal tally at Clairwood on Wednesday. Maiden Grey’s Gem (Race 4, 8-1), was awarded the race after a successful objection and Captain Firth (Race 6, 4-1, headline photo), ran on well to notch the second win of his career. Hadbaa (Race 10, 22-10), rounded off the day. They were were ridden by Anthony Delpech.
Grey’s Gem fought out the finish with Pilgrim’s Inn, who held on to win this 1600m race by a short head. In the closing moments Pilgrim’s Inn shifted outwards, carrying Grey’s Gem out, and apprentice Julius Mariba accidentally struck Grey’s Gem across the head with his whip – good grounds for a successful complaint by Delpech.
“Grey’s Gem lost her rider last time and he was green first time out, so she is better than his form suggested. She could win again over further,” assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen said about the daughter of Grey’s Inn owned in partnership by De Kock, Patrick Reynecke, Dr John and Mrs Amanda McVeigh, and Noeline Malherbe.
In what looked to be a two-horse race on exposed form, Captain Firth was surprising easy to back, touching 8s and 7-1 before shortening to 4-1, most pundits going for Umbrella Thorn.
Captain Firth, however, looked a likely winner some way out in the 1450m contest and he kept on strongly to post his second win from five starts.
“Captain Firth is a nice sort, though I still believe he will be a better horse gelded,” Kotzen said of the son of Captain Al, owned by Markus and Ingrid Jooste.