MATHEW de Kock has learnt how to handle life in the cold, grey Johannesburg. A regular at the Durban July meeting since he came out of his nappies, Mat has had to stay home in recent years having to hold the fort at Randjesfontein.
With his family away in Durban, Mat created his own thrills at the weekend. It had nothing to do with hanging out alongside the stable’s fashionable, trendsetting cobbler and first-choice farrier, Peter Dunias – instead the remedy was spending plenty of time in the winner’s enclosure!
Mat saddled three winners at Turffontein’s weekend meetings. This brought his tally for the week to five wins after a double on sand at the Vaal last Thursday.
Mike de Kock commented: “I’m proud of Mat and his team at Randjesfontein, they’re hard-working, dedicated and they know what they’re doing. This is well deserved.”
Saturday’s highlight was a winning double for Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai. JP van der Merwe scored on second-time out two-year-old filly Ataab (AUS), a daughter of Flying Spur and Akash Aucharus steered the home-bred Dynasty-colt Magnum Opus to a Maiden win.
At Sunday’s meeting Jockey Brian Nyawo got a blow in, guiding home Mike’s own runner Guy From Dubai to an overdue Maiden success. He’s a versatile son of Wilgerbosdrift stallion Right Approach who may surprise with some unexpected progress now that he’s found winning confidence.
Owner Andre MacDonald was on course at the Vaal to see Best Western winning a MR68 handicap under Raymond Danielson. The veteran owner clearly enjoyed the outing to the country course, saying: “It’s always special to see a winner racing in your own colours. It brings back good memories. These silks won 12 Gr1 races against the big stables years ago.”
Francois Naude, who is riding with confidence, also got his name on the board booting home Nigel Mansell to a back-to-back win on a surface he clearly loves racing on. “I hope I can retain this ride,” said Naude after enjoying another arm-chair cruise on the improved Brazilian import.
JP van der Merwe looks for opposition on easy-winning Ataab. If this was Meydan, he would have been in trouble.
-(Photos supplied by JC Photos).
Magnum Opus (Akash Aucharuz), well on song.
Best Western (Raymond Danielson) won his duel in the dust.
Guy From Dubai (Bryan Nyawo): Not out of turn.
Nigel Mansell (Francois Naude), hammered his rivals on sand, again.