The much-anticipated G1 Betway Summer Cup is finally here – a bumper crowd is expected at Turffontein on Saturday for a quality 10 race programme with two G2, two G3’s and a Listed contest on the undercard.
Betway Ambassador Mike de Kock has powerful representation throughout the day. He’ll be saddling the three most fancied runners in the Summer Cup over 2000m, with SPARKLING WATER quoted at 5-2, SAFE PASSAGE at 9-2 and ARAGOSTA at 8-1 on the Betway board, at the time of writing.
Sparkling Water has the edge at the weights with her win over Safe Passage in the Durban July, but Safe Passage, Aragosta and MK’s PRIDE all have great form at Turffontein.
Mike commented: “I am happy with their preparations. Things have mapped out well. Sparkling Water, Safe Passage and Aragosta are all well suited to the course and distance, they’re top-level performers. Sparkling Water is thriving, she’s in a good space and we’re happy with her draw.
“There’s more of Safe Passage now, at 4, then there was at 3. Not that there ever was a lot of him, but he’s put on some weight, a typical Silvano. Ideally, I would have liked another run under the belt for him, but I’ve been wrong about him before. He doesn’t give away a lot in work and then comes to the racetrack and wins. He’s very honest and does his best.
“Aragosta is better than his last run, draw a line through that. He sat last, we tried blinkers and that didn’t work. He’s got a two-pound drop, which will help. He is very well, a runner at the weights.
“MK’s Pride has tried this trip before and finished unplaced, also over 1800m. He’s improved, he’s a happy horse, but will probably be stretched at 2000.”
Mike discussed his other runners on the day:
Race 1, 800m: “Two juvenile runners here in ZINOVI (Heavenly Blue) and MOVE ON OVER (Querari). Both are speedy, the colt Zinovi is a bit speedier than the filly. But in these dashes, it depends how they start, if they jump well. Hard to make a prediction.”
Race 2, 1160m”: “I think it’s a little sharp for MAGIC PRINCE, a fair run expected, he’ll be better over further.”
Race 3, 1400m: “FOREVER MINE is very fit and doing well at home. At his best around 1400m and should be competitive despite his wide draw.”
Race 5, 1160m: “DESERT MIRACLE is well in herself, fit, but is always a filly that needs things to go her way. She has a chance, the fittest I’ve had her for a while.”
RACE 6, 1600m: “Our Dingaans runners EAST COAST, UNION SQUARE and SHOEMAKER are all talented three-year-olds who come into the race with good preps. It’s an interesting, quality race. Nathan Kotzen has a smart sort in Royal Victory, Alec Laird’s runner Billy Bowlegs caught the eye last time and there are several others with good form. But we have three smart horses and I’m expecting all to be right there.”
Race 9, 3200m: “We have MOWTOWN MAGIC and ALFAATIK in the stayer’s race. They’re not well in at the weights. Mowtown ran a good race last time, might be stretched over this distance but looks back to himself. Alfaatik will have no problem with the trip, there aren’t many opportunities for him to run over 3200m. A ‘field’ leg, to my mind.”
Race 10, 1800m: “CLIMATE CONTROL has a handy weight in a competitive field. We think this 1800m is what he needs, we could be wrong but he is a nice type of horse, don’t leave him out of anything.”