MATHEW de Kock, elated after the stable’s 3000th winner at Turffontein on Saturday, popped a bottle of champagne in the interviewing area and sprayed it all over Vee Moodley, Larry Wainstein and himself, with interviewer Andrew Bon keeping the microphone away from the bubbly but getting a few drops too! Around them, a group of the stable’s grooms were dancing and singing in support.
A few minutes earlier, the honour of this much-anticipated milestone of a winner had gone to Sheikh Hamdan’s three-year-old Janoobi, who plugged away from start to finish under a vintage ride from Piere Strydom to win the Gr2 Betting World Gauteng Guineas by a neck from Al Sahem, with Heavenly Blue 1.50 lengths back in third.
‘We couldn’t have written the script any better. The last three wins, all achieved on the afternoon, were in feature races and that’s just a testament to my dad and the man that he is,” said Mathew after the Guineas and following earlier wins in the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes and the Gr3 Acacia Handicap.
Mike, speaking from Dubai where things didn’t go all that well on the day (reports to follow), said: “It was a bittersweet day, but a momentous one for us and I am extremely proud of Mathew and my team of assistants and grooms at home.
“I am glad that the 3000 winners came up in feature races and with Mathew at the helm. He will eventually take over the string. Well done to Maine Chance Farms for raising Janoobi, it was good to win this race with a South African-bred runner.
“To Sheikh Hamdan, I’d like to extend a special thanks. We are grateful for his patronage, he has been unwavering in his support while others have waned. We have a strong, young string and we look forward to the rest of the season.”
Mike added: “There are so many other people to mention, when all settles down we’ll do a blog and recall some of the individuals that made this happen. For now, thanks to my wife Diane for being there from day one, thanks to Phumelela and Tellytrack for creating a celebration, and to Andrew Bon for his hard work in producing the video clips that made everything more exciting.”
Strydom, the first jockey to ride 5000 winners in South Africa, quipped that it was suitable that he had to be the man on Janoobi to bring up Mike’s South African first, 3000 winners. He said: “I’d ridden Janoobi here and in Cape Town, I thought he was a decent horse but he was over-racing a bit. Earlier this week the jockeys riding work at Randjesfontein told me that Janoobi had improved and that he was all relaxed. When I cantered him down today he was a different horse, he’d grown since last I sat on him.”
Janoobi is a son of Silvano from Shasta Daisy, by Rakeen. He was a R1,2-million purchase from the 2015 Cape Premier Yearling Sale and has now almost doubled his purchase price in stakes won, with R2,2-million in the bank after four wins from nine runs.