MIKE de Kock is delighted with the condition of his quintet of runners going into Sunday’s running of the R1.25-million eLan Gold Cup over 3200m. He saddles five of the 16 runners in this Grade 2 event and believes Enaad and The Centenary are probably the best of them. He spoke to JACK MILNER of Racing Express.
“As far as Enaad is concerned I can’t complain – all is well,” said De Kock on Tuesday. “When he won the Gold Vase he got the 3000m in a true-run race so I’m now confident he’ll see out the trip.
“However, at the weights we have a lot to do to beat Arch Rival. He beat us at Turffontein and will be 2kg better off. Even if Enaad has improved we may battle to beat him.”
De Kock feels The Centenary will benefit from all the rain in Durban that has resulted in the meeting being shifted to Sunday.
“She is by Montjeu who turns out classy stayers but the wet conditions favour her even more. All indications are she will get the trip. She has matured nicely and is a far better horse than she was when beaten by Storm Warning last year.”
He added that Kingston Mines is a one-dimensional horse but they have also learned how to ride him. “He pulls like crazy but there is no point fighting him. I thought Donovan Dillon rode a great race on him in the Gold Vase and that’s why we’ve given him the ride again.
“But Kingston Mines is doing well. He’s improved and he is stronger but the key is not to restrain him.
Smart Mart is another who has improved. He’s actually doing bloody well. I think this 3200m will stretch him to the limit but he’s a sound horse, he’s maturing well and he is gutsy. He has some interesting quirks but I like him, he’s quite a character.”
However, De Kock admits Kinaan was lucky to get into the race. “I understand why trainers are aggrieved that they have horses with merit ratings in the 90s or 100s and they get overlooked at a runner who is rated 84 and gets in on the basis of fourth in one race.
“I think he will be a nice stayer in the future but right now he was lucky to make the cut.
“But who knows, I hope I don’t end up eating my words.”
The former SA champion trainer also saddles two runners in the Grade 1 Premiers Champions Stakes over 1600m for two-year-olds – Misty Birnam and Qeyaadah.
“I think Misty Birnam should run very well. He stayed on well last time over 1400m so I’m sure he will get the mile. He’s a nice, sound, solid sort but it will be hard to turn the tables on Zodiac Ruler. If (Justin) Snaith’s horse fluffs his lines, we have a great chance.
“I thought Qeyaadah won one of the strongest Maiden Juvenile Plates of the season. We decided to supplement him into this race because other than Zodiac Ruler it is not a strong field.
“I’m expecting improvement conceivably he should run very well. He is a one-eyed horse so that does put him at a bit of a disadvantage.”