MIKE de Kock’s Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 fancies Majmu and Pine Princess (headline photo) and his Gr 1 Daily News 2000 contender Ertijaal arrived at Summerveld last week and have all been doing well.
Meanwhile, he will try Jayyed in blinkers in the Daily News 2000, after his disappointing unplaced run in the Gr 2 Betting World 1900.
The champion Majmu will be hard to beat in the Woolavington and her exceptional turn of foot coupled with her powerful, sustained finishing run should see her taking well to the tight Greyville track. She was beaten over this 2000m distance last time out in the Gr 1 President’s Champions Challenge against older males at Turffontein but was carrying a Gr 1 penalty, so on paper she put up at least as good a performance as the winner Wylie Hall, who was only carrying a Gr 2 penalty.
Furthermore, that was her second race after a layoff and might have been a slightly flat run. Majmu’s world class performance in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas, which she won with contemptuous ease by 2,5 lengths, remains the best form race of the season. Runner up Inara, who subsequently won both the Gr 1 Maine Chance Paddock Stakes over 1800m and the Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1600m, will likely be Majmu’s chief rival on Saturday and has the advantage of a pole position draw, course experience and she should also relish the trip, but she still has a bit to do to reverse the form.
De Kock’s Gr 1 SA Oaks winner Pine Princess has also been doing “very well” and De Kock said she had improved. She is a courageous sort who showed a fine turn of foot in the Oaks to make up the leeway quickly at the top of the straight and she later fought back when headed to deny Siren’s Call the Triple Tiara. It would be no surprise to see her going handy from a wide draw and making a bold bid down the straight, although over this sharper than ideal trip she will probably be vulnerable to the closers like Majmu.
De Kock confirmed that Ertijaal would appreciate the likely firmer ground and, having watched him quicken very well in the Gr 1 SA Derby before “falling in a hole”, he believed the 2000m trip was his optimum. He is versatile in running style, but hasn’t run on firm ground since his impressive pillar-to-post win in the Investec Cape Derby over 2000m. His draw of ten hasn’t done him any favours, but jockey Anthony Delpech knows the course well and will be riding him for the third time.
De Kock said that Jayyed had to be “pushed along” for most of the journey in the Betting World 1900. He also appeared to show little interest in the straight. This Jet Master colt has had a successful breathing operation and before that had advertised his talent with a narrow second in last season’s Gr 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m. Hopefully the blinkers will reignite him and if it does he will be a contender in an open race from pole position with champion jockey S’Manga Khumalo up.
De Kock also runs Kingston Mines and Raees in the Gr 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m. Both of them won their last respective starts over this trip. Kingston Mines, as the winner of the Gr 2 J&B Urban Honey Stayers and the Gr 3 Caradoc Gold Cup, has likely booked his place in the Gr 1 eLan Property Group Gold Cup already, so is likely to be viewing this as a preparation run, while Raees will need to go all out for victory off his lowly 86 merit rating, which sees him 0,5kg under sufferance. – Gold Circle.