THE only surprising fact about Kindle’s easy win in Wednesday night’s Listed Java Handicap over 2450m at Turffontein (headline photo) was that he drifted in the pre-race betting, with as much as 12-1 available on a few bookmakers’ boards shortly before the start.
Kindle displayed the qualities of a good stayer in the making when beating multiple winners in a merit rated handicap over 1800m a fortnight ago – his heart and fighting spirit clearly evident over a distance short of his best.
Up-and-coming runners from Mike de Kock’s stable are always tough to contend with in races where stamina plays a role. Competing from the bottom of the handicap they invariably become good betting prospects, as Kindle’s part-owner Gary Grant will attest to – having secured some eachway interest at R8,20 a Saftote Win and R2,80 a Place.
Mike with the Java Award from Andy O’Connor – he’s been reading a lot (via Kindle?), hence the specs.
Gary and Chris Haynes, his partner at the Equine Group, are two members of a nine-strong syndicate which also includes Mike himself, who said: “Kindle’s always had lots of potential and he’ll be even better over further, we’re going to have lots of fun with him!” He races in the green silks of George Ragunan (his first Listed success), who also owns a share in three-year-old colt Nicklaus, a promising debut winner recently.
Mike thanked Mathew de Kock and his team, who prepared Kindle in his absence and said: “I can’t stand here and stick my stomach out when they’ve done the work!”
Mike didn’t indicate the immediate route he has mapped out for Kindle but Gary Grant, for one, expressed his quiet wish that Kindle could sneak into next month’s Summer Cup, and hopefully “on a soft track”. He certainly already looms as a Gold Cup prospect for 2014.
Kindle was well handled by replacement rider Tshwaro Appie, who commented: “He dug down deep and will win a lot more.” By Fort Wood from Cyber Cento, the well-named four-year-old gelding was bred and raised at Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud, who also produced Eden Estuary, the winner of Race 1 (Lucky Houdalakis – Right Approach), and closed the evening with a win by newcomer Square Dance, a three-year-old filly also sent out by the De Kock team and racing in the Slack silks.
Square Dance led ’em a merry one!
Square Dance (Keegan Latham) came from well off the pace after a slow start and her being green didn’t exactly help her on the way. She had her ears pricked, however, looked keen to compete and won a good race all the same showing, in Mike’s words, “character and quality”.
“She’s young and there’s something to come because I think she’ll stay,” Mike said about Square Dance, the first foal of Mary’s former top race mare, Front House, born from her mating with leading European sire, Oasis Dream.
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