Pierre Jourdan and Thandolwami contenders at the Sansui Summer Cup
(Photo : JC Photographics)
De Kock Hot, Hot, Hot
JACK MILNER : “It’s not whether you win or lose - but whether I win or lose”
The current champion trainer has already won this race eight times and with six of the 18 runners tomorrow, it would be a brave man to bet against him scoring win No 9. Gary Alexander, who trains the only non-De Kock runner quoted in singles figures - Pierre Jourdan - put it perfectly when he said yesterday: “Mike has a big hold in this race and it will be tough to beat him.
De Kock saddles 5-2 favourite Perana, 5-1 second favourite Mother Russia, Alderry at 8-1, Zirconeum (16-1), Flirtation (20-1) and Rudra (50-1). “They are all going into the race with good form, he said. “I would have liked to have given Perana, Mother Russia and Flirtation another run but we have a long season ahead. Their training at home has been excellent.
When asked about Perana being a three-year-old when horses that age do not have a good record in the race, his response was : “So what? People said the same thing to me when I put Horse Chestnut into the Met - and he won.
As another famous golfer - Arnold Palmer - once said, “the road to success is always under construction’’, and that is a rule by which De Kock has lived his life.
Speaking about Perana and his gallant win in the Grade 2 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein where he ducked out sharply and still came back to win, De Kock said: “He’s a young and immature horse with a lot to do, but he does have Group 1 ability.
“Even though I would have preferred to have another run, he’s had a great preparation. He’s done everything right in training. I was impressed by the way he won his last race, especially the courage he showed in winning.
So win No 9 is likely to be spearheaded by a three-year-old who has raced just four times. But with just 52kg to carry, including Anthony Delpech - who is having an unbelievable year in big races - De Kock could well make history.
But if Perana does show his inexperience, a number of his stablemates will be waiting to pounce. Alderry finally demonstrated her true ability with an emphatic victory in the Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile earlier this month. She was rushed to the front early in the straight that time and was given a chance.
Muzi Yeni gets the ride and must fancy his chances on the big bay Al Mufti filly. “Muzi came up on Tuesday to gallop the filly without my even asking him, said De Kock. “I was very impressed with his dedication. Alderry is the perfect filly in every respect and she’s as well as ever. Her preparation has gone very well.
Then there is Mother Russia. This five-year-old mare has done little wrong in her career. She has raced 24 times for 12 wins and outside of Pocket Power, is probably the most prolific Grade 1 performer in the country. She has run in 11 Grade 1 races, won three, placed second four times and third two occasions. In her lone unplaced run she was just 1.85 lengths off the winner and that was against Lady Windermere in the Garden Province Stakes at Greyville.
The only blot on her copybook was her dreadful last place in the Gold Challenge at Clairwood. After that De Kock gave her a long rest and she came back in the Victory Moon where she was beaten 0.50 lengths by Perana.
“She went into the Victory Moon with an iffy coat, not looking that great, said De Kock. “She’s come on with the run, took it well and her coat is perfect. The second run after a layoff never normally worries me but every now and again they come up and bite you.
Other than his six runners, De Kock also has a share in Joey Ramsden’s runner, Hawk’s Eye, winner of the Grade 3 Algoa Cup. “Hawk’s Eye is as honest as they come. Joey should, be applauded for bringing the horse to Johannesburg. It amazes me at how many trainers around the country ignore this race. If you can afford to turn up your nose up at a R2-million race you have no right to complain about stakes cuts. We put our horses on floats and go all over the country. The Summer Cup should be better supported, said De Kock.
Deciding on who could shut out De Kock is difficult, but perhaps Pierre Jourdan has it in him. He went close to winning the Triple Crown last season and he does love the course. However, he has top weight for the race.
“He is a top horse and he’s done so well for us. But at the weights he might find it difficult, said Alexander.