Mike de Kock has runners at both meetings this weekend – another blockbuster feature day Saturday at Greyville and a card of decent quality at Turffontein’s standside track on Sunday. Comments brought to you by BETWAY.
There are three Graded races and two Listed contests on the Greyville programme and Mike’s well-performed Safe Passage faces nine rivals including star colt Charles Dickens in the topliner, the G1 Gold Challenge over 1800m.
Safe Passage was trucked back to Johannesburg for a suitable prep race following a disappointing run in the Drill Hall Stakes and Mike is confident that things are back on track for the gelding, who took third place in last year’s Durban July. He said: “Safe Passage is doing very well at home. I’d like to see him running on, finishing fourth or fifth will be a good result for me. He is coming back to himself and he could be a big July runner in three weeks’ time. We’d like to see a nice come-on run, he will improve more.”
Mike’s day starts in Race 4, where improving Gimmeanotherchance looks to have a lot going for him in the Listed Gatecrasher Stakes over 1400m after the form of his recent Juvenile win was well franked by the runner-up. Said Mike: “It helps being drawn at Number One for the manner in which he runs. He’s a nice horse, I know what we have in him, but we don’t know about the other young improvers in the race. Ours must be a big runner.”
High-level performers Union Square and Shoemaker are both approaching their peaks in Race 5, the G3 Cup Trial over 1800, a final chance to stake their July claims. “They both need to run really well here to be considered for the July. Shoemaker ran a good race from way back in the Daily News. Jockey Aldo Domeyer suggested we try blinkers, something I have been toying with. He has worked quite well fitted with blinkers, so we’ll be trying them in the race. He never seems to get a draw but should be competitive here, as should Union Square, who needed his last two runs. They are giving away weight to some older and decent horses, so this is no easy race to win.”
Humdinger (Race 6, G2 Tibouchina Stakes, 1400), will also have to contend with a poor draw, but she’s game and hard to peg back once she gets out in front, dictating the pace. “A good draw suits her style of racing, so from a wide berth she’s up against it in a competitive line-up. But she is a filly with ability and she’s in a good space, include her in everything.”
At Turffontein, Mike steps out Mary’s Greenlight in Race 2 over 1160m. A beaten favourite from a strong form race, she will be a key contender and Mike assessed: “This is a competitive field, but she should run very well.”
Next up, a promising pair in the Highveld Winter Juvenile Stakes over 1400m in Platina Princess and White Pearl, both with eye-catching wins in their respective second runs. There is more to do in a good race, but Mike feels he has a strong hand: “They’re both nice fillies. Craig Zackey was given the choice and he went for Platina Princess, but there are not much between them at home. They are two smart prospects, include both in your play.”
Spring In Heaven (Race 9, 1800m) is being tipped to win by Computaform and Mike said: “She’s a bit of a battling Maiden, but this, I believe, is the first time she’ll be racing over her right trip. Definite chance, she’ll run well.”