“OUR fillies travelled very well,” Mike de Kock said on the eve of the Grade 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas to be run at Kenilworth on Saturday. (photo taken by Diane de Kock in Kenilworth parade ring).
Speaking from Cape Town, Mike reported: “Rumya, Festival Of Fire and Welwitschia arrived safe and sound from Randjesfontein and they’re all in good shape. Rumya is classic filly, more of a stayer than Festival Of Fire, who is a sprinter-miler. Of course the inside draws for both of them are a big advantage.
“Rumya had an interrupted preparation due to a respiratory virus, but she took her last run well and she’s come on for it. Festival Of Fire hasn’t put a foot wrong, she is on top of her game. I’m not going to put my head down and split them, both have chances.”
Rumya came from the clouds to win the Grade 1 Durban Golden Slipper over 1400m at Greyville on Vodacom Durban July day and then stayed on in gutsy fashion from a handy position to win her seasonal reappearance on the Turffontein Standside track on November 20 over 1400m.
Both runs suggested that she would be much better suited to the Kenilworth New Course than the Old one.
Festival Of Fire’s sustained finishing run down the long Turffontein Standside track when winning her last start over 1400m suggested likewise.
Mike has kept the jockeys that are most familiar with the pair of horses aboard.
Anthony Delpech, who has ridden Rumya to two of her three victories, remains aboard the grey, while Derreck David stays aboard Festival Of Fire, having ridden her to win her last two starts.
Festival Of Fire, in fact, has Rumya’s measure on strict formlines and is also higher merit rated by one point, but the latter did likely need her last run and also looks likely to relish the extra 200m.
Festival Of Fire’s pedigree, being a half-sister to a 6,25 length winner of a 1600m handicap race at Scottsville and being by the stallion Kahal, who has produced winners over the full range of distances, suggests she will also enjoy the 1600m trip.
Welwitschia will take her place in the Southern Cross Stakes and Mike said: “Via Africa is the favourite, but I’d say our filly is big value at 5-1. She is very fit and well, she’d done it all.”