The first five runners from Mike de Kock’s stable have arrived in Cape Town for their campaigns during the Cape Summer Festival of Racing. Sparkling Water, Safe Passage, Desert Miracle, Iphiko and Sharapova all travelled well and will be prepared at the Milnerton Training Centre.
First to make her Cape debut will be Sharapova, the first daughter of multiple G1 winner and 2017 Equus Champion, Nother Russia. She’s carded to step out in Race 2 over 1400m and Muzi Yeni is booked for the ride.
Mike commented: “Sharapova made a good debut against colts in a race where the winner had strong form and went on to frank his win with a good handicap place recently. She’s travelled well from Johannesburg and a spell in the Cape normally does them a world of good. She needs to strengthen up a little and I’m not sure how good her rivals are in this race, there are at least four with good exposed form. But Sharapova is a filly we rate, I think she has a future. We’re expecting a good run, she has a winning chance.”
Iphiko, Mike said, will have to run better than her rating to have a say in Race 6, the G2 Southern Cross Stakes which, as always, looks set to be a keenly contested 1000m sprint. “Iphiko has also arrived in good nick and she’s in impressive form having won five of her last six starts, and with a good run in the Listed Gardenia Stakes. She’ll have to raise her game a few pounds to win this competitive race, but she is doing well and we’re hoping she can earn a stake for some black type. She prefers firm going.”
Iphiko’s dangers include Brett Crawford’s Stiptelik, touched off in the Listed Laisserfaire Stakes just recently, her consistent stablemate Whoa Whoa Whoa and Santa Maria, who prefers further but is herself a G3 winner, and very well in at the weights with Stiptelik and a few other rivals.
The unfortunate scratching of Jet Dark from the G2 Green Point Stakes has opened the door to a number of other contenders with Kommetdieding likely to top the adjusted odds boards. However, like him, five others are top quality course and distance winners which will make this a close and thrilling contest. Rested Linebacker, who runs well fresh, could be the one to side with.
Mike also has two runners at Saturday’s Turffontein meeting. He will be scratching Simple Simple (Race 7), but Cool Water (Race 6) and Littlemaryshunshine (Race 8) will take their places.
Cool Winter ran below his best over 1600m last time and he reverts to 1000m. Mike said: “He has dropped in the ratings and we’re bringing him back down the straight. We’re hoping he produces a better run this time.
“Littlemarysunshine didn’t get a blow in when she was drawn wide at the inside track a few weeks ago. That was a disappointing run, she is better than that, but perhaps needs to drop a few pounds in her rating. I can’t recommend her with confidence, but she has to be included in your exotic perms. We are expecting more from her.”