The G3 WSB 1900 is one of the traditional pointers to the Durban July and this year’s renewal looks well above average, with a number of candidates ready to stake their claims. A win secures an automatic spot in South Africa’s flagship race.
Mike de Kock runs 2022 SA Derby winner Aragosta, in prep, and commented: “He has come on from his last run, a good effort in the Premiers Challenge considering his fitness. He is more of a stayer so this 1900m is not ideal for him. But although this is not his best trip he should be in the shake-up.”
Talented Union Square returns from a four-month layoff in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m, a competitive line-up and Mike said: “He was injured in Cape Town and has taken time to recover. He will need the run quite badly.”
There is a meeting scheduled for Turffontein’s inside track on Sunday and Mike has entered three runners starting with Pembroke in Race 2 over 1450m. He said: “Pembroke is a battling Maiden, but his form is okay, he has Keagan de Melo up and is worth considering. He is a definite Quartet horse.”
Next up, Shoemaker in Race 6 over 1600m. He put up an excellent sprint last week after recovering from a bout of illness and being gelded, and Mike said: “That was a cracking run and he came out of the race well. We’re going for the Daily News with him, so I felt we should get another prep run into him. It’s not ideal, backing him up so quick, but that’s the way it is. He looks well and I’m happy to give him another run now. He’ll go well.”
Mike fields Simple Simple in the Listed Syringa Handicap over 1600m. She’ll have the widest of draws to contend with – 14/14 won’t be easy – and it’s a field of hard-knocking fillies. Mike assessed: “She’s a filly I’ve always rated, this is a tough ask because she’ll probably have to come from quite some way back from that wide draw. That said, don’t leave her out of anything. She is a filly with ability.”
*Safe Passage was well beaten and disappointing in his comeback run, in last week’s Drill Hall Stakes. Mike said: “He received quite a bad bump in the race and then he spat out the dummy. He also returned with a closed eye. But he is 100pc fine now, the run was disappointing and I don’t really have an explanation for it.”