Mike de Kock, who has travelled from Johannesburg To Cape Town several times in the last three months to oversee his small Cape championship string, has brought his Dingaans runner-up Shoemaker back to contest Saturdays G2 Guineas alongside stablemate East Coast.
Shoemaker is lightly raced and highly regarded, though he seemed below his best when beaten 10.90-lengths by star colt Charles Dickens in the G 1 Cape Guineas last December. Mike commented: “I think the Gauteng Guineas is scheduled just a bit too close to the Cape Guineas, just six weeks apart. The journey to Cape Town is 24 hours there, and back, and that is not ideal if one has a horse to contest the Triple Crown in Johannesburg. This is something the administrators might want to look at in future.
“Shoemaker has been cursed with poor draws, he has a deep draw to contend with again, always has to do it the hard way. I believe he is better than his Cape Guineas run. We have in-form jockey Richard Fourie up, he knows Shoemaker well, but they’re up against it. They’ve had to do it twice from wide draws in Graded races and didn’t get there, so it’s hard to assess what will happen this time.”
East Coast, placed in both the Victory Moon Stakes and the Dingaans, has the advantage of a decent draw, but he’s a horse that has shown that he prefers further than a mile and Mike said: “East Coast is in a very good space, he’s freshened well in his two months off the track. It looks too short for him on form, but if they go a positive clip; a good, even tempo, he’ll be running strongly at them.”
Good Queen Bess, last seen in action in October, returns from her break in a MR80 Handicap over 1160m and re-unites with Fourie, her partner for a Scottsville win over 1200m last June. Mike noted: “Her last run (7th in a Vaal handicap) wasn’t a reflection of her ability. We’re trying blinkers on her for the first time and hopefully this will assist her in making a more genuine effort. Include her in Trifectas and Quartets.”
Up-and-coming Bonete acquitted herself well in male company in the Sea Cottage Stakes recently but, like Shoemaker in the Guineas, she has a wide gate to deal with in the Fillies Guineas. “From this draw we’ll have to consider a change of tactics and we’ll be hoping for a place,” said Mike.