MIKE de Kock has entered six runners for the R1-million Betting World Guineas over 1600m at Turffontein Racecourse on Saturday 1 March. They include promising Australian-bred, Akii Bua, pictured on headline photo.
When entries closed yesterday for the Grade 2 race, the first leg of the SASCOC Triple Crown, De Kock, Alec Laird and Geoff Woodruff were responsible for 17 of the 31 entries.
There were 22 entries for the R500,000 Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Guineas (Grade 2), the first leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara, but they were more spread out among the trainers.
Laird appears to have some of the best three-year-old colts in the country and runners from his yard could dominate the final field.
Topping his list of nominations is Forest Indigo, who performed well in three Grade 1 races last year. He won the Golden Horseshoe over 1400m, was runner-up to Kochka in the Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m – both at Greyville – and ran on strongly from No 14 draw to finish a 1.25-length fourth behind Elusive Gold in the Cape Guineas at Kenilworth.
Laird has also entered two unbeaten runners in Mr Cricket and As You Like, as well as four-time winner Chekilli, last Saturday’s Tony Ruffel Stakes (Grade 3) hero Bouclette Top and Bezanova.
One thing certain to delight Laird is that Forest Indigo is nicely drawn in barrier No 4.
De Kock’s sextet are Akii Bua, Gone Baby Gone, Moofeed, Raaees, Taarish and Umgiyo.
Raaees has won three of his four starts, all in KwaZulu-Natal, and could be the pick of the six.
Woodruff has five runners nominated – Louis The King, Shadow Ofhis Smile, Rake’s Chestnut, Tee Jay Ar and Dynamite, while trainer Sean Tarry has entered just three, but among then is Grade 2 Dingaans winner Willow Magic.
Although only finishing second, one of the best performances at Turffontein on Saturday was that of the Ormond Ferraris-trained Close The Gap. The daughter of Fort Wood overcame No 14 draw in the Grade 3 Three Troikas Stakes over 1450m to finish a 1.25-length second behind Athina, to whom she was giving 3kg. She will prefer the extra 200m of the Fillies Guineas as well as the standside track and the fact that she is likely to improve from her current No 9 draw.
Also among the entries for the fillies’ race are Tarry-trained For The Lads, winner of the Grade 1 Golden Slipper, Thekwini Stakes (Grade 1) champion Along Came Polly, trained by Gavin van Zyl, Joey Soma’s charge Athina and De Kock-trained Santa Carolina, a half-sister to Ilha Bela and a two-time winner.
Supplementary entries close at 11am on Monday 17 February and declarations fall due at 11am on Thursday 20 February.
Entries for the three other features on the day, the Grade 2 Hawaii Stakes over 1400m, the Grade 3 Acacia Handicap for fillies and mares over 1600m and the Listed Aquanaut Handicap over 2450m close on Friday 14 February.
Entries with draws and trainers for the R1-million Betting World Guineas (Grade 2, Leg 1 SASCOC Triple Crown) over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday 1 March:
20-AKII BUA (M F De Kock); 10-AMBER SAIL (H E Adamson); 15-AS YOU LIKE (A G Laird); 27-BEZANOVA (A G Laird); 6-BOLD INSPIRATION (W H Marwing); 16-BOUCLETTE TOP (A G Laird); 25-CHEKILLI (A G Laird); 26-DYNAMITE (G V Woodruff); 30-FLIGHT WARNING (G M Alexander); 4-FOREST INDIGO (A G Laird); 8-GONE BABY GONE (M F De Kock); 28-HEART OF A LION (G H Van Zyl); 24-HILLBROW (R R Magner); 12-LANCE (S G Tarry); 17-LOUIS THE KING (G V Woodruff); 23-MERCADO (S G Tarry); 14-MISTER CRICKET (A G Laird); 13-MOOFEED (M F De Kock); 11-MR MULLINER (G M Alexander); 5-OLYMPIC OWEN (C Spies); 18-PLATINUM JET (W H Marwing); 21-RAAEES (M F De Kock); 3-RAKE’S CHESTNUT (G V Woodruff); 2-RUSHMORE RIVER (J A Soma); 7-SHADOW OFHIS SMILE (G V Woodruff); 19-TAARISH (M F De Kock); 1-TEE JAY AR (G V Woodruff); 22-TOMMY GUN (C Spies); 9-TORA TORA (S W Kenny); 31-UMGIYO (M F De Kock); 29-WILLOW MAGIC (S G Tarry)
Entries with draws and trainers for the R500,000 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas (Grade 2, Leg 2 Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara) over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday 1 March.
22-ADHIRA (M F De Kock); 3-ADMIRAL’S EYE (C Laird); 4-ALONG CAME POLLY (G H Van Zyl); 7-ARCETRI PINK (G V Woodruff); 8-ASH CLOUD (W H Marwing); 19-ATHINA (J A Soma); 17-CASUAL (R R Sage); 9-CLOSE THE GAP (O A Ferraris); 14-DASHING SCARLET (M F De Kock); 5-FOR THE LADS (S G Tarry); 18 JULIE DOOLITTLE (R R Magner); 1-KINGS V (W H Tolmay); 15-MILYNNE (S M Ferreira); 10-MOHAVE PRINCESS (G H Van Zyl); 13-NOT SULKING (G V Woodruff); 6-NTOMBE (G V Woodruff; 11-OLIVE LEAF (S G Tarry); 12-RIGHT ROYAL DIVA (G V Woodruff); 16-SAINT ANGELIQUE (S M Ferreira); 20-SAKANIA (G/K Anthony); 2-SANTA CAROLINA (M F De Kock); 21-WINTER STAR (J A Janse van Vuuren)