DANCING Spirit (headline photo), Mozart’s Giovanni and Rock Cocktail all produced strong finishing runs to win respective races at Clairwood on Wednesday.
Mike de Kock is excited about his string of young horses this season and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Dancing Spirit (Anton Marcus, 4-1) was one of several unraced runners that will step out over the next few weeks.
The three-year-old colt by Sunray Spirit made up ground after a slow start and once fully into stride looked very capable and impressive, winning a Maiden Plate over 1200m in full control with lots of promise evident.
Mozart’s Giovanni came storming up late to win.
Assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen said: “Dancing Spirit practically walked out of the gate, but he picked it up nicely. To have won from where he was, signals more to come. He’s a nice horse and he will go a bit further too.”
Mozart’s Giovanni (Craig Zackey, 13-2) raced on the outside of runners and appeared one-paced going through the last 400m, but he kicked into gear with 150m to run and his effort was strong enough to run the 3-10 favourite Heavy Metal out of it in the latter stages.
“He likes the going on top,” Kotzen said about Mike Rattray’s hard-galloping grey gelding.
Rock Cocktail fought off his rivals to win going away.
Perhaps most pleasing of all was three-year-old Rock Cocktail, who loved his first attempt over 2000m and won going away under Anton Marcus.
Rock Cocktail raced wide down the back straight and Marcus gave him some reign in order to come around horses into second, where he settled as they raced into the home stretch.
Rock Cocktail cruised into the lead with 450m to go, but challenges came hard and fast over the next 250m. However, he kept finding extra and in the end drew away smartly for a 1.25-length win in the silks of Larry Nestadt and Bernard Kantor.
“Three-year-olds haven’t been winning against older horses so far this season, so this was a really smart effort by Rock Cocktail. He’s left for Johannesburg, he will join Mike’s string at Randjesfontein,” Kotzen commented.