Umgiyo - Mathew de Kock’s pick for the Cup
(Photo : Gold Circle)
EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN CUP
Turffontein, South Africa
2 November 2013
When the legendary investor, Warren Buffet, named his biography “The Snowball”, he was talking about momentum and accumulation. And that’s exactly what’s going on right now as the countdown starts for the R3million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup on Saturday week. With almost two-thirds of the top 36 in contention for a place in the Cup sold from our stable yard last November, you can imagine that while 600 souls rest their heads on a Summerhill pillow every night, there’s not been an awful lot of sleeping going on here. Unable to resist a couple of calls to those with contenders, we caught up with the latest action.
Deputising for his Dad (who only returned from the UK last night), Mathew de Kock tells us their Stronghold filly, Celtic Legend, will be fit for the race, despite her lack of “prep”. We’ve heard that from the De Kock stable before, and most times you can bank on it; so when you hear him say they think she’ll be in the money, it’s worth pricking up your ears. That said, we reminded him that “in the money” in the Ready To Run Cup is different to most other races, because they pay right down to tenth place, where the stake is R65,000, equivalent to a top division in some places. Encosta Da Lago is one of modern Australian racing’s most successful stallions, and this yard has his son Duly Ordained, engaged: it’s Mathew’s view that he’ll get better with more ground, but expects his class to get him into the money, and reckons he’ll be all over them in the closing furlongs. His pick however, is Umgiyo, a R525,000 purchase from our draft last year, who especially pleased his connections last-up over the “blitz” 1160 metres of the Turffontein straight on his seasonal return. Let’s not forget, there’s a bit of class here too; he was placed in the Premiers Champion Juvenile (Gr.1) at the end of last season, so the distance shouldn’t trouble him, and he’s obviously a big runner.
It’s always refreshing when new talent pops up among our professionals, and Johan Janse Van Vuuren has bounced in from “left field”, bang into the melting pot. For a young yard just out of its maiden season, it’s astonishing that they should have two in contention, one of whom, Casha, is an unlikely starter. The sister to former Gr.1 Summerhill graduate, Disappear, caught the stable off-guard with a first-up victory, but her conditioner says she needs time between her runs, and will be an even smarter filly come the autumn. You can afford to be “picky” though, when you have the mightily impressive Winter Staramong the strings in your bow, and the daughter of Solskjaer (the only sire with three nominees among the top 16 on the present log) gave notice of her well-being on her seasonal comeback, with a runaway victory at Turffontein. She’s in excellent shape, according to Van Vuuren, and completes her preparation with a gallop on Friday. This is new territory for a young yard, and knowing it’s for publication, there was a professional reticence about saying much more. Take it from us though, she’s a runner.
Gavin Van Zyl has three “possibilities” under his command, the most likely of which on the ratings, is last Saturday’s 2.5 length victress of a 1000 metre maiden at Turffontein. Diamond Diva is yet another advertising the merits of Solskjaer; as a daughter of this debonair 2000 meter horse, and a sister to the Gold Cup (Gr.1) ace Diamond Quest, there’s little reason her career will stop at a 1000 metres; if pedigree means anything, we can only hope the selection panel know that, and give her credit for her class, rather than judge her for her confinement to sprinting. The one Van Zyl feels bullish about however, is Bodybuilder, who’s not only made the money in Stakes class, but looked half decent when rattling up his maiden at Turffontein a month ago. He didn’t have the run of the race on his return, nor did the inner track at Turffontein suit his style, but he ran creditably enough, and they expect him to make the cut. Nobody would be surprised if he does, and nobody here would be surprised if he finds himself in the mix on the big day. His owner,“Buffalo Bill” Burnard, has the Midas touch, and anything carrying his name in a racecard, demands respect.
We took time out when talking to Van Zyl, to enquire how No Worries was doing in Cape Town. He’s out at Noordhoek Beach apparently, and he’s taken to it like a duck to water. Look for a big season from this son of the former East Cape Horse of the Year Coastal Waltz, who carried the colours of one of the best men in the game, Glanville Gardiner, to the number one box on no fewer than ten occasions.
More from Sean Tarry, Charles Laird and Michael Azzie on the weekend.
Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale
Lots 1-110 • Friday 1st November
Lots 111-248 • Sunday 3rd November