DUAL stakes winner Sea Cat has joined Mike de Kock’s stable. In a deal concluded by Jehan Malherbe of Form Bloodstock on behalf of Mary and Jessica Slack, the three-year-old filly by VAR was purchased from Cape trainer Paul Reeves and a group of his patrons.
Sea Cat has raced 15 times for four wins and three places. Just below the radar in three Gr1 appearances so far, she came to some prominence when winning the Listed Breeders Fillies Guineas on turf at Fairview in March and then posted an eye-catching success when defeating the colts in the Listed East Cape Guineas on the Polytrack at the same venue in April.
Sea Cat properly bullied her male rivals in the Listed East Cape Guineas.
Sea Cat was taken to Greyville to contest the Gr2 KRA Fillies Guineas on 3 May and she finished fifth behind Maybe Yes, coming from several lengths off the pace and beating the likes of Santa Carolina and Athina to the wire, a performance considered to have enough merit for Malherbe to confirm an offer he had made to Sea Cat’s connections before the race.
Malherbe said: “Sea Cat is by VAR, who is flying as a stallion, from a mare by Hansell. She comes from the immediate family of recent European champion Dawn Approach. This is a great international pedigree and with two stakes wins to her name she has good paddock value for the Slack partnership.
“There is nothing wrong with the rest of Sea Cat’s race record. She has good pace, having won over 1000m and 1200m and placing in the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship over 1200m as a two-year-old. At early three, she ran on late in the Gr2 Cape Fillies Championship from a 15/16 draw, beaten under two lengths by In The Fast Lane with the top Gr1 filly Along Came Polly behind her.
“Sea Cat confirmed her ability in the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas with another good finishing effort, sixth and on the heels of In The Fast Lane, Lanner Falcon and Along Came Polly when drawn 14 of 16 runners. She has the potential win a big feature, we’ll be holding thumbs for her luck to change!”
Paul Reeves: “I hope another filly like Sea Cat comes along for us soon!”
Reeves, who is establishing a reputation for winning races with ‘cheapies’, pinched Sea Cat, consigned by Collingwood Stud, for only R20,000 at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale (Book 2) in 2012. He tells: “Sea Cat was a bit underdone and she had a pot belly so most of the buyers ignored her. But she was scopy and I knew she’d develop over time. We were fortunate to buy her for my stable.”
He added: “We are sad to see our star go, but I’m still a small trainer and new on the block and it’s fair to say that Sea Cat would have left my yard to new buyers at some point anyway. Our best wishes accompany this talented filly, we’re proud to have put her on the map and personally I hope that Mike will end up taking her to Dubai. She really enjoyed the Polytrack at Fairview and the Meydan track may well suit her.”
Mike has a good record with previous acquisitions who took their early steps to accomplished careers in the Eastern Cape. Lizard’s Desire won the Gr3 East Cape Derby for Mitch Wiese at Arlington before being transferred to the stable and going on to a brilliant international career that included a photo-finish second in the Gr1 Dubai World Cup. Interestingly, Lizard’s Desire was beaten into second when he contested the East Cape Guineas – if only Sea Cat’s facile win in the same race can turn out to be a pointer to anything even remotely as good to follow!
Bold Silvano was trained by Gavin Smith when he won the Listed Racing Association Stakes over a mile at Fairview as an early three-year-old. He went on to win the Gr1 Durban July for the De Kock team and was shipped to Dubai where he won the Gr2 Al Maktoum Challenge.