MATHEW de Kock described Mike de Kock’s mood in Sydney, Australia as “over the moon, very happy” after Heavenly Blue (AUS) and Orchid Island had bagged the respective Gr1 Classics on Classic Day at Turffontein.
Mathew said: “This has been a most exciting week for the stable and I am humbled and grateful to our team and our stable’s owners who have stuck with us while my dad has been away in Dubai and Australia.
“We spoke on Saturday afternoon. My dad’s been setting his alarm for all times of the night and he’s watched all our winners. He is absolutely delighted, especially with Heavenly Blue. At last year’s Inglis Easter sale he bought and kept talking about Heavenly Blue, he simply loves the horse and to have him win a Gr1 has been very special.”
Heavenly Blue is by champion stallion Snitzel, who also sired the first three past the post in Saturday’s Gr1 Inglis Stallions Race in Sydney. A full-sister to Heavenly Blue comes up at this year’s sale and Mathew will be joining Mike, having flown to Australia on Saturday night.
Wendy Rippon and Arun Chadha, who own Heavenly Blue in partnership with Mike, Larry Nestadt and Warne Rippon, led Heavenly Blue into the winner’s box to cheers from the crowd for the horse and jockey Callan Murray, who had ridden his first Gr1 winner and said: “These are the days I live for. It is special, amazing. They went fast and he was off the pace, but I knew he’d get to them.”
Murray had a glance at the big screen going through the 100m mark and kept Heavenly Blue rolling rhythmically to win by 2.9-lengths, but it could have been more as he strode away from smart Al Sahem.
Earlier, Anthony Delpech rode Mary Slack’s three-year-old Orchid Island to a good win in the Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic, getting up in the last few strides after a strong late run.
Orchid Island, by Silvano, is at her best, it seems, from 1800m and up – and next month’s SA Oaks looks a race in which she will be hard to oppose.
Orchid Island, like her granddam Ilha Da Vitoria, doesn’t show a great deal in home gallops, but she excels on the racetrack and is an exciting filly to watch.
“Well done to Mary, she’s very fond of the Ilha Da Vitoria family, as we are too. Having the blood relatives of a former star winning big races makes it more special.”
Champion trainer Sean Tarry, himself on fire with seven winners on Classic Day, congratulated the stable on its two Gr1 successes and said on Tellytrack: “Mathew has come in for some criticism and he’s handled it superbly, well done to him. He’s doing a fine job. People don’t realise how much pressure comes with his job.”