MIKE de Kock produced the magic in the R350 000 Gr2 Post Merchants run at Greyville on Friday evening. The 1200m feature produced an international exacta celebration for the champion trainer as the locals were left to scrap over the minor money, reports Sporting Post.
De Kock’s two representatives, the UK bred mare Welwitschia and the Australian bred Merhee, were both well drawn and enjoyed a smooth passage to bank the first two cheques, albeit in the wrong order for many punters.
The draw was always going to be of paramount importance on the city track and the fifteen horse field that went to post had an open look about it, with Welwitschia eventually firming in to start a 19 to 10 favourite.
The Cape raider, Cap Alright predictably got up to show the way early as Karis Teetan brought Copper Parade from wide out and slotted him into second place. The West Is Wide and Blaze Of Fire were further back.
Into the home straight Cap Alright folded as Copper Parade looked dangerous down the middle as Welwitschia ghosted through down the inside rail.
In a scramble to the line the animated Veale produced Merhee with a perfectly timed effort to win going away by 1,25 lengths in a time of 69,83 secs.
The 4yo colt beat his stablemate Welwitschia, with Joey Ramsden’s Copper Parade running a cracker after jumping somewhere in West Street! The son of Lecture looks overdue to win again soon if Joey can find the right race for him.
Winning jockey Sean Veale said afterwards that he was ‘quietly confident’ of a good effort from Merhee.
“He had put in very good work and I felt that the draw had cost him heavily in the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint at Scottsville. He ran a great race tonight and I must thank Mr De Kock and all the trainers who support me,” he said.
Veale, who is riding with renewed commitment this season, rode his first career Gr1 winner on the Scottsville Sprint Festival day last month
Assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen, who deputised for the absent Mike De Kock and the ill John Buckler, said that on assessing the opposition, he had felt that his runners ‘would fight it out.’
Jockey Anthony Delpech, who rode the second placed Welwitschia, proved to be on target with a comment he had made after Merhee had won the Gr2 Senor Santa Handicap at Turffontein early in April.
Delpech had suggested then that once Merhee had learnt to race, he would win his fair share of Group races. He now appears to be fulfilling his promise.
Merhee was bred by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, and is by Darley’s Gone West stallion Elusive Quality out of the Encosta De Lago mare, Dizzy De Lago.
That makes him a half brother to the top class Musir (Redoute’s Choice).
Merhee was registering his fifth win from 12 starts, with 4 places.
He took his stake earnings to R674 000 and is likely to go straight into the Mercury Sprint