Mike de Kock leapt from eighth in the National Trainers Championship to fourth after a fine day at Turffontein on Saturday, where his six winners included Barahin in the R1 million Grade 2 Peermont Emperor’s Charity Mile.
Rainfall of 37,5mm in the 24 hours before the meeting led to testing conditions and it proved vital on the day for horses to conserve as much energy as possible in the running. Jockeyship was thus of the highest importance and Callan Murray was at his best, booting home five of De Kock’s six winners.
Barahin was drawn well in four in the Charity Mile and Murray secured a good spot on the rail in midfield.
Approach Control went to the front but had to be used up to do so and was consequently the first horse gone in the straight.
Chijmes was the early leader from a good draw of three and apprentice Dennis Schwarz put on the brakes to conserve his energy.
Murray switched Barahin inward coming off the false rail and he had a clear run on the inside. The Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud-bred Gimmethegreenlight colt was clearly relishing the conditions and hit the front still under a tight hold. Murray did not move a muscle until about the 300m mark by which stage he was a length clear of Chijmes. When he got to work Barahin found extra and waltzed away to win by 3,50 lengths from the tall and progressive Ato gelding Chijmes, who stayed on resolutely. There was a gaping 3,25 length gap back to the dead-heaters for third, Cascapedia and reserve runner Flying Winger. Cascapedia found the spot behind Barahin on the rail after jumping from draw five and Flying Winger was dropped out from a wide draw and was placed on the rail two positions behind Cascapedia, proving that finding cover quickly was the key to staying on in the tough conditions.
Barahin had started second favourite at 6/1. The 47/20 favourite Zillzaal went handy from a draw of six and was caught one wide without cover for most of the way, which was his undoing.
Barahin’s win for Shiekh Hamdan Bin Rashid al Maktoum was the first leg of a quick feature race treble for De Kock.
In the preliminaries of the Grade 3 Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m, De Kock’s NZ-bred All Too Hard grey gelding Frosted Gold caught the eye, especially his muscled hindquarters.
However, he drifted out from 4/1 to 29/4 as the favourite Putontheredlight shortened from 33/10 to 57/20.
The race was full of incident, some of it caused by the loose horse On My Mind, who dislodged Nooresh Juglall after pecking at the jump.
Craig Zackey managed to place Frosted Gold on the rail in midfield and he had one hairy moment when the loose horse veered in front of him. Earlier, the loose horse had forced the fancied pair Eden Roc and Tallin outward on the turn. Later, Tallin appeared to clip the heels of the favourite Putontheredlight and Callan Murray performed a miracle to stay aboard but lost his stirrup irons.
In the straight the loose horse took up the running of both Riverstown and the leader Magic School, who was staying on strongly from a handy position. However, their stride was hardly affected and it did not materially affect the result as Frosted Gold finished powerfully to win going away by a length from Magic School. The latter beat Riverstown by a shorthead for second. The favourite Putontheredlight was caught wide in the running, which gave him little hope in the conditions.
Juglall was reported okay and just suffering aches and pains.
Frosted Gold is owned by Dave MacLean, who was due to run the New York Marathon yesterday.
In the Grade 3 Yellowwood Handicap over 1800m De Kock’s Irish-bred Exceed And Excel filly Queen Supreme, who is six months younger than her four-year-old contemporaries, confirmed herself a star in the making. Running in the Mauritzfontein Stud colours for a syndicate of owners she powered away to a 4,25 length win from the classy sorts Ronnie’s Candy and Roy’s Riviera.
Later De Kock’s Cape Derby winner Atyaab relished the underfoot conditions and won the Listed Java Handicap over 2400m cosily from Factor Fifty and Bondiblu. This Australian bred gelding by Dundeel is owned by Sheikh Hamdan.
Earlier, De Kock had won two maidens respectively with the Australian-bred Snitzel gelding Alameery, also owned by Sheikh Hamdan, and the Rathmor Stud-bred Noble Tune colt Hellofaride, owned by Mario Ferreira.
Eight times SA champion trainer De Kock earned R1,103,200 on the day to rise to R3,197,750 in stakes for the season.
The David Niewenhuizen-trained Digteby Stud-bred Querari filly Mill Queen had always struck as one who would train on and she fended off the persistent challenge of Wisteria Walk to convert 18/10 favouritism in the Grade 3 HSH Princess Charlene Starling Stakes over 1400m under Gavin Lerena.
The Clifton Stud-bred Kahal gelding Prince Of Kahal claimed a remarkable fourth win in as many starts this season. He stormed home on the outside rail to defy third topweight of 61kg in the Golden Loom over 1000m under Dennis Schwarz, his third Graded win in succession.
The Sean Tarry-trained Tmen Stables-bred Visionaire filly Spiritofthegroove stormed home from way off the pace to win the joint richest race on the day, the R1 million Emperors Ready To Run Cup under Marco van Rensburg.
By David Thiselton