HERE are Mike de Kock’s comments for Chartity Mile race day, at which he saddles Heavenly Blue (photo), in the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes.
EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN CUP (1400m)
I think Act Of Loyalty is a very nice horse and I’m expecting him to run well. We have a lot to do at the ratings but I feel he is relatively unexposed. Coyote probably needs gelding. I thought he was a fair sort but he had a disappointing last run. It would be unrealistic to expect a place.
GRAHAM BECK STAKES 1400m
Heavenly Blue is a smart sort. This is his minimum trip, he definitely wants further. This is a test in a way because I would like to see how he runs against his peers. He has won well, although he beat very little. He’s more of a Classic kind of horse. He’s had plenty work at home and he is a horse with a good attitude – very straightforward – but he needs to rise to the occasion. I would expect him to be in the top three.
HSH PRINCESS CHARLENE OF MONACO STARLING STAKES 1400m
Al Hawraa ran a cracker in a handicap last time and was probably a bit unlucky not to win. I expect her to run very well. If things go her way she should do well. Intriguing Lady ran well last time but she is going to have a tough time from No 16 draw. Red Pomegranate is a nice filly and she won a handicap very well against older fillies. If she was drawn well I would give her a big chance. If Callan (Murray) can get lucky from the draw she can run a big race.
YELLOWWOOD HANDICAP 1800m
Persian Rug has been disappointing. The form suggests she is not any better than she is showing and form doesn’t lie. We will try different tactics with her this time. We’ll sit her at the back and let her run on.
Race 2: HSH PRINCESS CHARLENE OF MONACO MAIDEN PLATE 1600m
Al Hamd is very well but probably wants further. He’s quite a nice little horse who will win his share of races.
RACE 4: JAVA HANDICAP 2450m
Whatever you for say for Kinaan you can say for the other two. He’s had two runs and he’s fairly fit. We’ve taken the blinkers off because he tended to over-race with them on. Kingmambo’s Legacy ran a cracker last time and I’m expecting a similar run. Piere Strydom called for the ride so I’m hoping having a man in the saddle who wants the ride, can make a difference. Smart Mart had a good prep run last time.
RACE 10: MR 91 HANDICAP 1600m
I thought Janoobi ran quite well last time. That 1450m was too short. I think this is more what he wants and even further. I expect him to run well. He’s still learning and will leave it up to Strydom. I won’t be giving him any instructions. Master’s Spirit is a bit of a frustrating horse. He’s definitely better than his form. I’ve been running him in sprints but on breeding he should go further so this is the first time we’re trying him over this distance.