MIKE de Kock has two runners in the Grade 2 Betting World 1900 at Greyville on Thursday evening and also has three runners in the fifth race, a Pinnacle Stakes event that boasts a Grade 1 quality line up.
Anthony Delpech rides Rock Cocktail in the 1900, so he looks to be the stable choice. This Australian-bred won an 1 800m Handicap at Clairwood last Wednesday in good style, getting the better of a well-regarded sort in King Neptune.
In normal circumstances there would be a concern that the 1900 had come too soon after that race. However, Mike said Rock Cocktail had come out of that race well and added, “He’s a tough horse, that’s why I’m running him again.”
Rock Cocktail is drawn perfectly in barrier two and looks likely to progress beyond his merit rating of 90, so it would be no surprise to see him in the thick of things.
Furthermore, Mike said after his latest win that he could well supplement Rock Cocktail for the Vodacom Durban July if he ran well in the 1900.
The stable’s other runner is last year’s Woolavington 2000 winner, Viva Maria, who is merit rated 102 but is widely drawn which is not ideal for her front-running style.
In her Champions Season pipe-opener she finished one from last in the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes over a too sharp 1 400m. “She’s coming right, but is not at her best yet.”
He runs Mujaarib, Patriotic Rebel and Silent Partner in the Pinnacle Stakes event over 1 400m that features reigning Equus Horse Of The Year Variety Club as well as last year’s July winner Pomodoro.
Both Mujaarib and Patriotic Rebel would need their runs.
Mujaarib has disappointed when fancied in both the Gr 1 Sansui Summer Cup and the Gr 1 President’s Champion Challenge, both over the tough Turffontein 2 000m.
“We’ve tried him twice over that trip and he definitely doesn’t stay,” said Mike about the Australian-bred by Nadeem.
Patriotic Rebel finished a 1,1 length fourth in his last start in the Grade 1 Investec Cape Derby and this will be his first run for the De Kock yard.
Mike said about the three-year-old Stronghold gelding, “He’s been with us for about two or three months and is a nice horse. But we laid off him after gelding, so he will need the run quite badly.”
Silent Partner is better off at the weights with Patriotic Rebel but has a tough task with the top horses in the race. However, Mike said, “He is fairly fit and should run well.”