Ahead of the 2023 ASSM Charity Mile and a talent-packed G3 Graham Beck Stakes at Turffontein next week, the city track on Saturday hosts a nine-race programme at which Betway Ambassador Mike de Kock has has nine runners to face the starter. Note that Littlemarysunshine (Race 3) and Shoemaker (Race 5) have been withdrawn.
Mike starts the day early with three runners in Race 1, a Maiden Plate over 1450m in which Dubai Hills (Flower Alley) and Monster (New Predator) make their debuts and Marques will attempt to make more improvement.
Mike said: “Dubai Hills has drawn 14-14 for his first run which is far from ideal. From that deep draw he will probably give up too much ground in the early part. He needs the experience, we’re getting going with him and he looks like a horse who is capable of running on late and into the money.
“Monster has not shown us too much in his work so far. He probably wants a lot further, we’ll see how he goes here.
“Marques looked very well last time and caught the eye of the on-course presenters. He ran accordingly, finished third. His draw is against him, but the softer track will suit an he has a Top 3 chance, I’d say. He is doing well.”
Sparkling Water’s full-sister Champagne Cocktail was all the rage and the talk of the town before her 7.50-length debut success at this track in September and she steps up to a Class B Handicap in Race 3 over 1800m.
Mike assessed: “Champagne Cocktail beat a weak field on her debut, but she couldn’t do more than win. She takes on some hard knockers a few divisions above that now, but she’s shown us that she is a decent filly and I rate her highly. We’re expecting a good effort, she’s probably our best for the day.”
Two-time winner, Bonete, returns to the track following a period of rest and she’s in Race 4 over 1450m. She’s a well-bred filly with scope who has shown herself to be above average and Mike said: “Bonete’s had a spell back on the farm and she loved it, she looks great. The layoff is not in her favour, but her work has been good and she deserves inclusion in the exotic bets.
“Simple Simple is in the same contest. She is fit and consistent and doing very well at home, though has a bit to find on ratings.”
Next up, Zinovi in Race 5 over 1450m. He is a game type, well drawn and Mike commented: “Zinovi is keeping his form despite breathing issues. He ran a cracker of a race last time, third to good sorts Purple Pitcher and Gimmeanotherchance over this distance at the Vaal, and should be a big runner here if all goes well.”
Safe Passage’s full sister, Silver Sanctuary, has made a good start to her career with two wins from three starts. She’ll face the starter, and a field of colts and geldings, in Race 6 over 1700m. “We gave Silver Sanctuary a freshening up after her last win. She is doing well. It won’t be easy giving the colts weight, but she has shown her ability and has to be considered.”
The day concludes for the stable with Destiny Of Souls in Race 7 over 2000, a trip he relished in his penultimate start when he ran on to win going away. Said Mike: “This is a tough and competitive handicap in which Destiny Of Souls is in with a shout. He is fit and well, normally gives of his best.”