MIKE de Kock believes this could be the year of the fillies in Saturday’s R2-million Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup, reports JACK MILNER on TAB News.
De Kock saddles one of the three members of the fairer sex in Orchid Island, who is the 13-2 favourite for the Grade 1 race over 2000m at Turffontein, and he is not surprised to see her as one of the favourites.
“On form she has to be in the top three,” said De Kock yesterday. “I think the fillies could have the edge this year. Joe Soma’s runner (Wind Chill) looks decent, as does Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Girl On The Run.”
De Kock has won this race nine times and one of his winners was Ilha Da Vitoria, who is the grand dam of Orchid Island. “I feel she’s had a very good prep. She’s had a run although another prep run would have been ideal. That’s the only negative for me.
“She is a small filly, but she’s put on 15kg, which is a lot. At least we can see she has made the weight for age improvement.”
The draw is also of little concern for her trainer. “She’s drawn in middle at No 10. That’s ideal. We want to be out of trouble.”
Anthony Delpech takes the ride for Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud and she carries 53.5kg.
Many punters will be looking to Nother Russia in the Ipi Tombe Challenge over 1600m as a possible banker in the carryover Pick 6.
Betting World have priced her up at 1-1 for this Grade 2 event and she once again will be ridden by Craig Zackey. She comes off a gutsy win in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein two weeks ago.
“She was a little underdone for that race with a long season in mind,” explained De Kock.
“The plan is for her to run in the Ipi Tombe and then go to Cape Town, where she will run in the Queen’s Plate or the Paddock Stakes, and then the Sun Met. I hope she draws well in the Queen’s Plate. I would like to see her in that race.”
De Kock has five runners in the Investec Dingaans although he says Alwahsh will be coming out.
“I gave him a trial gallop over a mile and he didn’t stay so there’s no point in running him.
“As for the rest, you can’t pick and choose what you think you can win with. They’ve got to take on one another in the big races and the best horse must win.”
Still in the race are Like A Panther, Puget Sound, Alshibaa and Pietro Mascagni.
“Like A Panther is a very smart horse, I just wish he was drawn well (No 14). For him 1600m is his minimum trip. He’s more a Derby type of horse but he has a lot of ability, a lot of speed. I rate him highly.
“Alshibaa had a very good win last time although he did run in a weak field.
“Pietro Mascagni is another smart horse. Ideally, I would like him to have had another run.
“Puget Sound is a nice horse and didn’t run a bad race last time in the Ready To Run Cup. It was a very slow-run race and he was progressing at the end. He’s a good hard-knocking sort who could finish in the money.”
Asked which of the four he preferred, De Kock replied: “On raw ability it’s hard to separate Like A Panther and Pietro Mascagni. But then Alshibaa doesn’t show much at home and has won both his starts.”
Naafer is the De Kock runner in the Grade 2 WSB Merchants over 1160m and, though he is 1kg under sufferance based on merit rating, he is currently the 5-2 favourite. “He’s a smart sprinter but he is a little hot. I’m not happy about being drawn No 1 but with his light weight he has to be a runner.
“He will probably want the going to be on top. I don’t think rain will be in his favour.”
Alileo runs in the Grade 3 Magnolia Handicap over 1160m and De Kock feels she will battle to feature in this event. “It will be very difficult for her. She’s under sufferance and is also a problematic filly.”
Smart Mart runs in Race 10 over 1600m, which De Kock says will be too short. “He will go to Cape Town and contest the staying races down there.”
He also saddles two maidens, Balustrade in Race 1 over 1160m and La Linea in Race 12 over 1600m. “Balustrade can run but the whole thing depends on how she breaks. She’s a nice filly but will probably be better over further.
“La Linea ran a good race to Mike Azzie’s horse, San Fermin, who looks one of the better two-year-old fillies we have seen. She must have a chance based on her first run, but I would say this is her minimum trip.”