High-level performer Golden Ducat will be making his debut for Mike de Kock’s stable in the G1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m on Derby Day at Turffontein.
Six-year-old Golden Ducat, whose wins include the 2020 G1 Champions Cup in which he defeated his accomplished half-brother Rainbow Bridge, was sidelined with injury during the 2021 KZN Champions season and returned in November 2022. He’s had four runs for trainer Eric Sands since, including a third in the Cape Mile, and was transferred to Mike for the Highveld Autumn.Mike said: “Golden Ducat has settled in well with us and seems to be enjoying himself. His four runs since injury have been fair, he hasn’t been far off, but we’re not on target with his fitness, I think he will need the run badly. Also, one never knows with older horses. They get tricky, They either want to run, or they don’t. This race will give us an idea where we stand with him.”
Mike said that Climate Control (Race 2, 2000m) is probably the stable’s best runner for the day. He’s been a consistent earner in 12 career starts and is well overdue a second win. He won’t have many better chances than this and Mike added: “He was a bit unlucky last time, he had to check, ran on and was beaten a length by Zuzan. He’s better off at the weights. My slight concern is that we’re stretching him a bit over 2000m. He is in very good form, however, should contest the finish.”
Mike has entered Littlemarysunshine in the G2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks over 2450m. She’s an unknown quantity at this distance and he said: “She ran a cracking over 2000m in the Oaks Trial, but takes a massive jump in class. I was doubtful she’d stay the trip last time and she did, staying on. But I still think she’ll be stretched over the extra at this track. Her last win was over 1450m, so I have to question her over 2450m. She is in good shape, fit, but up against it in this league.”
The Pick 6 Pool at Turffontein starts with a carryover of R1-million and a pool of R6-million is expected. A healthy dividend is likely considering the competitive nature of the contests.
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