While the bulk of the Nation’s top Three Year Old colts were doing battle in Saturday’s Daily News 2000 (Gr.1), the best of them (some may take issue with that, so we’ll have to wait for next Saturday to see) was quietly biding his time in the sanctuary of Mike de Kock’s Summerveld yard.
IMBONGI faces his biggest assignment yet in the 1600m Gold Challenge (Gr.1) at Clairwood, where he renews his battle with last year’s Horse Of The Year, Pocket Power, Champion Floatyourboat, last year’s hero, Successful Bidder and the much-vaunted Paddock Stakes (Gr.1) victress, Dancer’s Daughter.
Speaking with Mike de Kock on Saturday evening, he says that like last year, the Gold Challenge is shaping up as the race of the season, and you can understand his reasoning. While there’ll be plenty on the subject as the week progresses, it’s probably enough for us to know at this time that the ‘master conditioner’ thinks IMBONGI will be “all over them” on the weekend, and he thinks whatever’s in the shake-up come the last furlong, they’ll have to pick up their feet to keep him out.
On a line through stable companion, Galant Gagnant’s spectacular run in Saturday’s Daily News, he probably has good reason to say so. Though now, we need to remember he takes on the Horse Of The Year, at weight for age, and that will take some doing.
As we said last weekend though, if there’s a Summerhill man in the field, don’t count us out!