WHISTLE Stop (photo) will contest the R2-million Gr 1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville on Saturday in what could well be his last start in South Africa.
The highly regarded Silvano gelding returned from his disappointing run in the Gr 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas with a lung infection and only made his comeback to the track last Sunday.
Mike de Kock was happy with Whistle Stop’s five-length sixth behind Master Sabina in that 1600m Pinnacle event at Turffontein. However, he reportedly needed that run badly and the Daily News obviously comes a lot sooner than ideal.
Originally his intended qualifying race for the Vodacom Durban July had been the Gr 3 Cup Trial on June 7, but now that it is known that the quarantine for his overseas stint begins within the next two weeks, the time frame suited a run in the Daily News better.
“It is important that horses go into quarantine fit and healthy,” assistant trainer Mathew de Kock said earlier this week.
The reigning champion trainer also runs the British-bred filly Square Dance in the Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 and has two contestants in the Gr 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m.
Square Dance is by Oasis Dream out of the former De Kock-trained Front House, who, as a six month younger Irish-bred filly, ran a close second in the SA Oaks and a 1,5 length third in the Woolavington, despite receiving no Northern Hemisphere-bred allowance. Square Dance is also six months younger than her contemporaries and will receive a 2kg Northern Hemisphere-bred allowance.
She was beaten three lengths by Touch The Sky over this 2000m trip when finishing second in the Listed Oaks Trial at Turffontein in April. However, she was facing the latter on 4,5kg worse than weight-for-age and will now be facing her on equal weight-for-age terms, which will give her a chance of making up the deficit, especially considering she will relish the step up in trip and will also be improving all the time.
The De Kock yard regards Square Dance as a fighter, who is worth following through her career. She has also travelled down from Johannesburg and Mathew said: “We believe she’s got the ability to place, especially because there are a few question marks around some of the other horses’ staying. She definitely gets the distance and is improving each and every month as she matures.”
In the Gr 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup the four-year-old Mogok gelding Wild One has his first run for the yard and they also have the three-year-old Greys Inn gelding Gone Baby Gone involved. Both of these horses have been trained out of Summerveld and stable jockey Anthony Delpech is aboard Wild One.
Assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen said that they didn’t know much about Wild One and that he didn’t show much at home. However, he is a talented sort and finished third in last year’s Gr 1 SA Derby. The robust gelding has his quirks though and often appears to get going too late, although he has won at Greyville before.
Gone Baby Gone ran a fine third in the Greyville 1900 Consolation race last time out, 1,5 lengths behind the highly regarded Futura, and Julius Mariba has been kept on top. He finished a five length fourth in the SA Derby over 2450m, indicating he stays this trip.
Wild One is drawn in pole position and Gone Baby Gone is drawn in ten if the two reserves come out. – David Thiselton, Gold Circle.