THE stable is fast approaching the 50-winner mark for this season – a Saturday treble put the 2017/18 number of winners on 47, representing a 21% winning strike rate and a win/place rate of 66% – the highest on the log going into December.
Mike de Kock saddled Excalibur’s Return and Mable Syrup to wins at Turffontein; Mathew de Kock took care of matters at Kenilworth, where Best Kept Secret won and Mujaafy (AUS) finished third.
Mike has had good success so far with the value progeny of Golden Sword and his R50,000 NYS purchase Excalibur’s Return (22-10 favourite fought on gamely over the last 200m for Callan Murray to hold on from a field of older fillies.
With two wins over the toughest 2000m in the land as an early-three-year-old, Moutonshoek-bred Excalibur’s Return is obviously a measure above average and Mike will be looking forward to higher-level staying features as she matures.
Mary Slack’s Mable Syrup is another who is winning well as a young filly. She stepped from her Maiden into FM86 class and dug deep under Murray to defeat Star Profile.
Mike said: “Mable Syrup received 5kg from the runner-up, but I think Star Profile is a decent filly so there was merit in the win. We’ll expect more from her.
Best Kept Secret (3-1) beat a small field of fair sprinters in a MR76 Handicap, rallying well for Anton Marcus.
“Best Keep Secret doesn’t settle well so we brought her back in distance and it looks like we’ll have to restrict her to races over 1000m -1200m. She needs to mature, we’ll win another race with her.”
Many punters would have bankered Mujaafy to win the first leg of the Jackpot but Mike said the colt’s followers should not be disappointed that he failed to win.
“Mujaafy had to travel and had his first outing at Kenilworth but more importantly he’ll be better over 1200m and his conqueror Kasimir is a good horse in his own right. If you look at Kasimir’s form he was beaten just a length by Dutch Philip, who ran second beaten under a length in Saturday’s Gr2 Merchants.