MIKE de Kock knows what it takes to win a Gauteng SANSUI Summer Cup. After all he has done it nine times before with Evening Mist, Record Edge, Golden Hoard, Delta Form, Ingleside, Wolf Whistle, Ilha Da Vitoria, Rudra and Flirtation.
Nevertheless, reports JACK MILNER of Racing Express, even with three runners in this year’s R2-million event over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday, De Kock is not oozing confidence over the chances of Flying The Flag, Ahlaam or The Centenary.
The best of the three appears to be Irish import Flying The Flag. The beautifully bred son of Gallileo has only raced once in this country and that was in the Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile over 1600m on 31 October.
“I thought he ran every well last time, I’m more than happy with that performance. I’ve seen a big change in him since then and he has improved a lot. He is certainly not a 25-1 shot.
“He’s a smart horse. This is only his second run in the country and I know there is still more improvement to come. He will be even better over 2000m and I know he is good enough to be in the top four.”
Ahlaam, handicapper’s bonus in her favour.
In the Charity Mile he “got lost” during the early part of the race but then ran on very well to finish 6.10 lengths behind Bouclette Top. Unfortunately he has landed No 17 draw but will be ridden by a top jockey in Anthony Delpech.
As far as Ahlaam is concerned De Kock would like to see her ridden from off the pace this time. “She has gone to the front in her last few starts and got away with it because she was the best horse in the race. I would like to change her style of running and perhaps ride her for luck.
“We were given a 2kg bonus from the handicapper because they dropped her merit rating after she finished fourth in the Victory Moon. I certainly would not be surprised to see her finish in the top six.”
The unknown quantity is New Zealand-bred The Centenary. “She just keeps getting better. Her last win over Marmalady in the Yellowwood Handicap was impressive which is why I supplemented her into the Summer Cup.
“She’s an unspectacular filly to look at but has a great pedigree. She’s from a family of late developers so there seems to be a lot more to come. She also improved when we started riding her from off the pace. She’s has had a great prep but she’s got to rise to the level of the colts. She is well weighted and you never know.”
There is a lot more conviction emanating from the stable with regard to the Grade 2 Investec Dingaans in which De Kock saddles Noah From Goa and Jubilee Line.
“I think Noah from Goa has had a really nice prep. He is battle-hard and we’re going into this race with a lot of confidence. He is huge runner, I have no doubt.”
De Kock admits he was very disappointed when Jubilee Line went down to Save The Rhino last time but believes the son of Dynasty has a bright future.