Mike de Kock knows what it takes to win a SA Triple Crown and SA Triple Tiara, writes JACK MILNER.
He trained Horse Chestnut, the first to win the Triple Crown in 1999, and Igugu, who in 2011 became the first filly to capture the Triple Tiara.
On Saturday he saddles Malmoos, who is aiming to become the fourth horse to claim the honour when he run in the Grade 1 World Sports Betting SA Derby over 2450m on the Turffontein Standside track.
Malmoos is currently quoted at 9-10 to win the race but De Kock understands the outcome is no “gimme” and that his charge has to still prove he will stay 2450m.
“Winning all three races is not easy and a horse going 2450m for the first time always has to be vulnerable.
“On pedigree it appears he will stay, although he’s got a lot of speed. That’s the theory, the race will tell if it is correct or not.”
He also points out things can go wrong during the race. “There are 14 runners with a lot of low-rated horses. Traffic could be a concern.”
Luke Ferraris has ridden Malmoos in all of his races and knows him well. So, on the subject of tactics, De Kock says he will leave it up to the jockey.
“I don’t want to tie the kid down too much in a big field. He must ride him as he finds him.
“I don’t have a pacemaker, but good racing needs a good pace so hopefully we get one. But I don’t see it being either very fast or very slow.
“I just want to see a fair race.”
He added that if he had a proven stayer and was taking on Malmoos, he would like to have a strong pace. “If I was among the opposition, I would want to test the favourite’s staying ability.”
The good news is that Malmoos will stay in South Africa and has a place at stud in the country. “As far as his immediate future is concerned, I will see how he takes the Triple Crown and then look at Durban as a possibility.”
De Kock also saddles Sparkling Water in the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks, and he is confident of a decent performance. “I’m convinced we are all running for second. It’ll be very hard to reverse the distances we were beaten by War Of Athena.
“But I’m confident Sparkling Water will stay, and confident she will run in the first four.”
Commenting on one of the strange contrasts of horseracing, De Kock added. “Malmoos cost R4.5 million, War Of Athena cost R30,000. Both are running for Triple Crown/Tiara honours.
“It proves that if you’ve got a ticket, you’ve got a chance.”
De Kock’s two other runners on the card are unbeaten Al Sakeet in the Grade 3 Man O’ War Sprint and first-timer Flower’s Ridge in Race 2.
“I think the Man O’ War will be a good test for Al Skaheet. I’ve thrown him in the deep end but he a bit of a softy and he is plagued with problems.
“Flower’s Ridge is not bad. He wants a bit further but he could run into the placings.”