MIKE de Kock has only one runner in Saturday’s Gr1 Vodacom Durban July at Greyville – the filly Espumanti, but he has a strong hand in the Gr1 two-year-old races and other events. He is aiming at his fifth July success and overall he is not short of confidence.
Mike said about the four-year-old Dansili filly Espumanti, who was Northern Hemisphere-bred so is six months behind her contemporaries: “She is blossoming as she is now catching up. I don’t know if she will stay 2200m, the furthest she has been is 2000m, but being by Dansili she should get it in theory.
“When Espumanti won the Betting World 1900m she was still running hard at the line. I am very happy with her preparation. We didn’t want to run her again after the 1900, because with the system as it is you risk losing your place, but she does enough at home, she is not a lazy worker. I’m happy with her draw of two. She has enough early pace and has a good kick if they go too fast.”
Espumanti will jump from pole position if the reserves come out. She will be ridden by Anthony Delpech, who’s going for a record fifth July win.
Mike considered a few of several other contenders with chances in what he feels is a race not necessarily all over bar the shouting for the three-year-old runners. “King Of Pain has beaten Beach Beauty twice at weight for age and beat Yorker, so that is outstanding form. I also like Punta Arenas.
“Cherry On Top must have a shout too. She beat us three-quarters in the Gerald Rosenberg at Turffontein in May but is 1kg better off at the weights here, another one of those things that happen in racing.”
“Among the three-year-olds I was quite impressed with Louis The King’s finish last time in the Daily News 2000. He went into that race freshened up, so I fancy him above as probably the three-year-old male with the best chance. The Daily News wasn’t his mission and he now gets a bit of weight from the winner, Legislate.”
Love To Sail.
Mike has three runners in the Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Golden Slipper over 1400m and he fancies his Gr 1 Allan Robertson Championship winner Alboran Sea. He said, “I rate Alboran Sea highly. Love To Sail beat winners first time out and I thought it was a good field. She is an unknown and will have to step up, but at home she shows us she is a smart filly. Pine Princess is very, very smart, but is looking for a mile and her wide draw will be a factor.”
Alboran Sea won the Allan Robertson going away so should stay the trip and Muzi Yeni retains the ride from pole position. Love To Sail will be ridden by Piere Strydom from draw five and Anthony Delpech rides Pine Princess from draw 13 if the reserves come out.
The yard runs the filly One Fine Day as well as the colts Anjaal and Jayyed in the Gr 1 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m.
“I kept One Fine Dayin, here, because she drew better than in the fillies race,” Mike commented. “She’s a very nice filly but there’s a small question mark about the trip. Her last run (third in the Allan Robertson) doesn’t indicate that, but I was worried before that race that she would even stay 1200m as she is very, very fast.
“Anjaal is a nice sort, although it’s possibly too short. He did achieve his rating in a sprint (fifth in the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Medallion), but is scopy and is probably looking for a mile. I was surprised that Jayyed got in ahead of the likes of Light The Lights, who I thought would be one of the main contenders the way he beat Mootahadee. Jayyed is a nice horse, but will probably want a trip.”
One Fine Day will be ridden by Delpech from draw eight, Anjaal will be ridden by Bernard Fayd’Herbe from draw three and Jayyed has Yeni up from draw nine.
Wild One and Canterbury Tale were very well ahead of the Gr2 Gold Vase over 3000m, where Mike also runs the talented but hitherto disappointing Raaees. He said: “Wild One has come on and looks better now than he did before that last win (Gr3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup). Going over 3000m for the first time is always a worry, but there is not much between all of these horses and I think they will finish on top of each other. I thought Canterbury Tale ran very well last time and he is also very well. Raaees is capable of better and we are now trying blinkers and a tongue tie.”
Mercurial Brave steps out in the Gr3 tabGold 2200. This horse always makes breathing noises, but won well over 1950m at Scottsville last time out. Mike said: “He won well and was well ridden. This is probably the trip he is looking for.” Kennedy replaces Delpech and they will jump from draw seven. – Interview by David Thiselton of Gold Circle.