Michael Roberts
The first 50m of a race are in fact the most important.
— Michael "Muis" Roberts / Trainer

Four-times Vodacom Durban July-winning trainer Mike de Kock runs the two-time Gr1-winning three-year-old filly Majmu and the Gr1 SA Oaks winner Pine Princess in the big one on Saturday and has a few other chances on the day.

Majmu missed her preparation run in Gr1 Woolavington 2000 but she enjoys running fresh and was clearly well in herself and moving well at the July gallops last Thursday.

Jockey Anthony Delpech dismissed the suggestion that the number one draw was unfavourable in the July and said, "If you were drawn in pole position in a grand prix you would take it, it is the shortest way around. All I have to do is hold my position and I'm not sure why everybody says you have to rush a horse to do so from the number one draw, you don't have to." Delpech added that no race can be planned beforehand and it would be foolish to do so.

Accordingly, the legendary Michael "Muis" Roberts once said, "The first 50m of a race are in fact the most important", as that is when a few split second decisions, including an early prediction of the pace, can potentially seal your fate. However, Majmu supporters will be confident. Delpech, who will be going for a record-breaking fifth July win, can find a good position from that draw. Majmu was staying on late in the President's Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein after appearing to hit a bit of a flat spot in the straight, so should stay the Greyville 2200.

Pine Princess will obviously have no problem with the trip and has been one of the most backed runners since the final field announcement.

De Kock said both of his charges has been doing "very well." 

He spoke about the rest of his runners, "Dashing Scarlet (race 2) is not an easy filly to train, she is capable of better than what she's shown and is a filly that shouldn't be left out. Ataab (race 3), I'm hoping she will enjoy the step up in trip, she's capable but she's quite high in the ratings and if she runs a place it will be a good run."

He agreed that Smart Mart (race 4) was a big runner and said he was well. He will raid from Jo'burg, which in theory could be an advantage from a staying race due to the altitude training he has enjoyed.

De Kock fits blinkers to Almashooqa (race 5) as she had run around in the finish last time and he believes it cost her the race. He called her a "nice filly" and gave her a "big chance, especially from the draw." In the same race he has Captain's Song, whom he described as a "very smart filly, but drawn very badly", and Sharp Princess, "a nice filly, but probably wants a bit further."

Muwaary's (race 6) last run spoke volumes and De Kock also described him as a "smart horse, but badly drawn."

He continued, "Trip To Rio (race 8) is drawn in the bush, first run after gelding, do well to run a place. Tiger Territory (race 10) has been freshened up a little bit and works well on the poly. Love To Sail (race 11), it's probably a bit short for her, but she's quite a nice filly."

Excerpt from Gold Circle
Mike de Kock trained Igugu wins 2011 Durban July / Game Plan Media (p)