rudra winning summer cupRudra with Kevin Shea aboard
(Mike de Kock Racing)

Saturday’s R2million Steinhoff International Summer Cup saw the Mike de Kock / Kevin Shea Group 1 juggernaut deliver once again with 3-1 favourite, Rudra, taking the day’s spoils in dominant fashion.

Jimmy Lithgow writes in The Times that the four-year-old Parade Leader (Kingmambo) colt, who runs for the partnership of Tony Moodley, trainer Mike de Kock, Chris Gerber, Ferdie Ladeira and rugby commentator Paul Bayvel, raced clear after cruising into the lead at the 300m marker.

It was a fourth Summer Cup victory for Kevin Shea, who has had a tremendous year, winning on several continents on Mike de Kock’s horses. But this was his easiest victory in this prestigious race. Rudra was Mike de Kock’s eighth winner in the Summer Cup.

While Mike de Kock was doubtful after the race whether Rudra could beat the mighty Pocket Power in the J&B Met early next year, there is no denying that the horse is a class act.

Settled towards the back of the field, with second-favourite Smart Banker in his slipstream, Rudra travelled easily. Kevin Shea allowed stable companion Equal Image, also racing in Tony Moodley’s colours, to take the lead, with Speed Of Gold, Membrado, Eddington and Senor Versace well placed.

Prince Asad made a move at the top of the straight but once Rudra was given his head, there was no doubting the result.

French jockey Christophe Soumillon, deputising for the injured Anton Marcus, worked hard on Smart Banker on the outside as the field reached the 200m mark and had to take evasive action as one of the leaders fell back.

Smart Banker, who beat Rudra in the recent Victory Moon Stakes, ran on stoutly to finish as Kevin Shea looked back for the opposition and eased up short of the line.

Smart Banker’s stable companion, Senor Versace, ran on well for third, with Prince Asad fading slightly at the finish to take fourth.

Earlier, Christophe Soumillon, rated by many as the best rider in the world, rode superbly to win the Grade 2 Dingaans on Charles Laird’s inexperienced New Zealand-bred colt, Oracy.

This smashing individual must be one for next year’s Vodacom Durban July short list as he was having only his second race.

While Kevin Shea was the star of the show on Rudra, Christophe Soumillon demonstrated the dedication it takes to become one of the world’s top jockeys, spending hours in the past couple of days pounding the tennis courts at Sun City in a sweat suit to take off the weight needed to make the ride on Smart Banker.

A good crowd turned out to watch the feature events, as well as the four-race international jockeys’ contest.

But superstar Italian Frankie Dettori, Ireland’s Mick Kinane, Australian Damien Oliver, India’s Mallesh Narredu, England’s Darryl Holland and France’s Belgian-born Christophe Soumillon had no answer to the powerful South African team, even though Darryl Holland gave the visitors a good start by winning the first of the four competition races and also won the Grade 2 Merchants aboard trainer Joey Ramsden’s Something Else.

By the last of the four races, the South Africans had established an unassailable lead, courtesy of victories by Karl Neisius and Piere Strydom, but man-of- the-moment Kevin Shea provided the clincher in the ninth race, winning on Alec Laird’s Urban Reason.

The South Africans won by 60 points, scoring 179 to the Rest of the World’s 119.

Mark Khan, the South African captain, won the bronze saddle as the highest-scoring individual jockey.