Imbongi winning the KZN Guineas with Anthony Delpech aboard
The Vodacom Durban July joint-winners Pocket Power and Dancer’s Daughter, both have fairly wide draws to overcome in the big race on Saturday, the Grade 1 R500 000 Champions Cup, a conditions race over 1800m, although Mike de Kock is happy with Imbongi’s draw just one inside of them.
Trainer of Dancer’s Daughter, Justin Snaith, warned of the dangers of hyping this event into a match-race. “This is the furtherest thing from a two horse race,” he said. Dancer’s Daughter and Pocket Power have both drawn wide and are facing a very strong field.
In the conditions of the race the pair also have to give weight all around in terms of a comparison to a Weight-For-Age event. Justin Snaith added, “Dancer’s Daughter is very well. She is badly weighted but we are still pretty confident. She’s always improving.”
Dancer’s Daughter, who was drawn in 13 in the Durban July, and will jump from stall 12 on Saturday, will have done her final pace work on Tuesday morning over 1 200m and will have a sprint-up on Thursday. Mike Bass, trainer of Pocket Power who is drawn in 11, said, “The draw hasn’t made it easier for us, things can go wrong from there. He is the sort of horse who is helped by being drawn well”.
Pocket Power was drawn in three in the Durban July and relaxed beautifully all the way around after jumping well, but from this draw more use will need to be made of him early on. This is particularly concerning considering that he found himself too far out of his ground when beaten 1,5 lengths into fourth behind Dancer’s Daughter, Imbongi and the Sean Tarry trained Buy And Sell in the Gold Challenge at Clairwood over 1 600m.
Pocket Power faces Dancer’s Daughter on 1kg better terms compared to the Gold Challenge and on 3,5kgs better terms compared to the Durban July. However Imbongi and Buy And Sell are 3,5kg and 4,5kg respectively better off with Dancer’s Daughter on Gold Challenge form.
Buy And Sell will have to put his disappointing Durban July run behind him and also has a wide draw of 15 here compared to his Gold Challenge draw of four. The Joey Ramsden-trained Silver Mist, beaten 2,85 lengths in the Durban July, Pocket Power on identical terms here.
Mike Bass said that not much more will be done in training this week with Pocket Power whom he said had put up some nice work yesterday.
Regarding Imbongi, Mike de Kock said, “He’s got a good draw and that will be a big help. The draw is what cost us last year with Kildonan”. Asked on Imbongi’s capacity to stay the 1800m trip, he replied, “There has to be a question mark. He didn’t get home in the SA Classic but that was on soft ground and the Turffontein 1800m is tougher”. Imbongi will have done his last piece of work this morning and will sprint up on Thursday. “He is pretty fit and at the weights he has to have a big chance,” concluded Mike de Kock.