MATHEW de Kock normally enjoys the trip from Johannesburg down to the Vaal – one his dad used to make quite often in the days before leather recliners and big screen TV’s – and the stable came away with a nice treble on Thursday.
Opening the account at the country course was the impressive looking three-year-old Alaadel (AUS), a three-year-old gelding of substance, bought at Inglis and owned by Sheikh Hamdan.
Alaadel, beautiful action.
The son of Sebring is a difficult horse to work with, has a soft mouth and has to be trained alternatively on the treadmill and the track to keep him on the boil.
Jockey Gavin Lerena tried to get Aladeel (3-10 favourite) some cover for the first part of his straight 1400m Maiden contest, but having drawn on the inside this proved a task too arduous with the gelding’s attitude and lack of experience. Eventually he was allowed to stride along on his own accord using his big, loping action.
Lerena just kept him rolling in the hands, a smack or two at the 150m and they streaked clear for a 2.75-length win. He’s a handful, this one, but as Mat suggested, maturity will bring much improvement and if that comes with a gradual change in attitude, he’ll have a future.
Aspri Astrapi held on well.
Another battleship of a horse is Aspri Astrapi, a $100,000 Inglis Easter purchase by Fastnet Rock for Marsh Shirtliff and partners. He stayed on over the same straight seven furlong with some resolution to hold off a gallant challenge from Barbarella Nights and Mat said: “He’s a hard ride and suited JP van der Merwe, thanks to him. Aspri Astrapi weighs 590kg, he was over 600kg before we gelded him and he will tighten up more and improve with that.”
Well-bred Nother Russia (Tiger Ridge – Mother Russia), completed her own and the stable’s hat-trick under a confident Craig Zackey, winning a straight mile.
“She’s decent enough to win a small feature,” said Mat of Jessica Slack’s filly. “Her rating has been right for these handicaps.”
Nother Russia, three in a row.