THERE could be over R5-million in the Pick 6 pool on Champions Day at Turffontein Saturday – a carryover of R1,9 million is expected to boost the Megapool to an amount worth putting in a few hours of form study for the meeting.
Mike de Kock’s Banaadeer will almost certainly be a Pick 6 banker for 95% of horseplayers – he is all the rage for the Gr1 SA Nursery (Race 4, 13:35), which kicks off the popular bet.
Mike hates to overblow the chances of his runners because he knows how easily hot-pot favourites find one to beat them, but even inexperienced punters won’t need an encouraging comment to make this exciting, unbeaten two-year-old colt the base of their play in what truly looks a five-legged Pick 6.
“Banaadeer is a horse I really rate,” Mike said. “The day after his last win he had a temperature of 40 degrees, it was quite amazing that he won so well. This cost us 10 days of training him, but I think he’ll be okay.”
Majmu, like Banaadeer, was born in Australia and sold to Sheikh Hamdan at the Inglis Easter Sale – a great advert for the Australian auction, the proprietors of which will be hoping to notch their first Nursery double on the same day, in another country.
Majmu (headline photo), who contests the SA Nursery (Gr 2, Race 3), is also unbeaten and in her own two superb wins so far has given the same impression as Banaadeer – that it will take a superstar, or an earthquake in the old mining town – to beat them.
In this case we have a ready-made banker for the start of the Place Accumulator (and Bi-Pot) and Mike said: “Majmu is above average, a nice filly. She’s a light, leggy filly and that she’s won over this trip is amazing, it shows the good ones can sprint as well. She’s got a Gr1 in her but we don’t want to push it so we left her out of the colts Nursery as not to race her and Banaadeer together. We’ll take Majmu to Dubai once she has completed her three-year-old career. We have to walk before we can fly, she’s a real live Guineas, Classic prospect.”
One Fine Day, the smart winner of a 1000m dash at the Vaal recently, takes a step up in class to accompany Majmu and her trainer described her as “nice and speedy up to 1000m”, but “possibly stretched over 1160m”.
Mike and his team will saddle Square Dance in the Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks (Gr1), over 2450m and commented: “She’s had a good prep and this is her third run after a rest. Her dam won the Oaks, I think she will see out the distance and she gets a Northern Hemisphere allowance of 3kg. She is a runner, but there are other fillies in here with good form. Square Dance will be rated a lot better than she’s rated at present, she was immature so we chucked her out, she should start making good progress now.”
Espumanti is another to have her third start after a lay-off, contesting the Gr2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes over 2000m and in with a fighting chance. “She will be competitive,” Mike said. “I think she will get the trip and her pedigree also suggests she will.”
Ilha Bela is likely to pop up with a Gr2 win the minute she’s written off, so don’t do that – include her in all bets for the Gr2 Gold Bowl over 3200m. “She was sick and needed her last run, but she’s had an excellent preparation. This is not the strongest field of stayers I’ve seen, but Ilha Bela has to give 6,5kg to a decent sort like Magic Smoke and I’m not sure if she can do that.”
Honorine, Welwitschia and Tayba will keep the team busy until late in the day for the running of the Camellia Stakes (Gr 2), over 1160m.
Tayba is expected to need it, but the other two have clear chances and Mike couldn’t put his head down for one. “Both are decent fillies who I expect to run well. Welwitschia is well treated under the conditions, which is why I am running her, Honorine missed a place last time after being cramped and she’s very well.”
There are betting options designed for scenarios like this – swingers, trifectas and especially quartets – float the De Kock pair with the field and hope for two ‘spooks’ to fill the other places. We’ve seen worse investments than this suggested bet and if it doesn’t come off – the Fun Box party after the meeting won’t be affected and any sorrows will be drowned!