Mike de Kock has a fine chance of ending his longest ever drought in the Grade 1 Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup on Saturday as his powerful team of five includes the first four in the betting.
De Kock will be attempting to land his tenth Summer Cup, but hasn’t won it since 2010.
Half of the 20 runners in Saturday’s 2000m event on Turffontein Standside are under sufferance, so this will make topweight Soqrat’s task a touch easier.
This De Kock-trained Australian-bred is the ultimate professional and can be easily switched on and off. He should therefore have a chance of finding cover from a wide draw of 14, especially with Anton Marcus up, but if he doesn’t it won’t be a train smash as he is likely to relax anyway.
His best wins have been over a mile, although he should stay the trip.
Stablemate Barahin, who carries 59kg, has a good draw of eight and will relish this course and distance as one with a resolute finish who can come from a handy position or from off the pace. He impressed with a going away victory in the Grade 2 Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile last time carrying 58,5kg with second time blinkers on. He was given a nine point raise but is progressive. He did enjoy the testing going in that last win and will have to contend with faster going on Saturday according to the weather forecast.
The third topweight Infamous Fox carries only 53,5kg. He has a fine turn of foot but will need to be ridden cold as he has a stamina doubt and his best form is also on tighter tracks.
Camphoratus won the Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes over a mile here last year and proved she stays this rip with a fine sixth in the Vodacom Durban July. She needed her comeback run at Greyville badly and was well below her best in the Charity Mile too. She should be cherry ripe, but does have a tough draw to overcome. She is likely to be left alone, but she is capable of making up ground with her lovely, big action.
Last year’s winner Tilbury Fort carries 53kg and has a plum draw of three. He is effectively four points higher in the merit ratings than he was last year. He doesn’t take much racing to reach his peak, so will improve on his seven length fifth in the Charity Mile, especially as he is 4kg better off with Barahin.
The big De Kock-trained mare Cascapedia finished a 0,80 length third in this race last year and not only has the same draw but is effectively two points lower in the merit ratings. She comes off a staying on third in the Charity Mile and these days should enjoy the step up in trip.
Divine Odyssey is a big striding horse who should be cherry ripe. His sustained finish coupled with his weight of just 52,5kg make him one of the chief threats to a De Kock win.
Atyaab scrapes into the handicap with the minimum weight of 52kg but is the least fancied of De Kock’s charges. He won a weak renewal of the Cape Derby last season over this trip and judged on his last run might prefer further now.
Dawn Assault is a courageous horse who finished a 0,60 length second last year after being used up to get to the front from a wide draw and then having no cover. He is effectively only one point higher in the merit ratings this year and sneaks into the handicap with the minimum weight. He does have another wide draw, although last year’s rider Karl Zechner is back aboard. This galloping type can be ignored at one’s peril.
Marchingontogether is a classy type who finished third in last year’s SA Derby. He has improved since gelding and is only half-a-kilogram under sufferance. He has been targeted at this race and the blinkers are off after a disappointing run in the Charity Mile. He has a good draw and is another one capable of winning.
Roy Had Enough sneaks into the handicap with the minimum weight and off a mark effectively three points lower than last year has a chance from a good draw. He is course and distance suited and has a plum draw on the back of a perfect preparation.
Zillzaal, who is 1,5kg under sufferance, disappointed last time in the Charity Mile after a good first run as a gelding. He has been running handy without success for some time so might be tried from off the pace considering he stayed on well in last year’s Gauteng Guineas.
Queen Supreme is officially 4,5kg under sufferance but looks to be full of class and could still be anything. She has in-form Callam Murray aboard and this lovely-actioned filly will have many supporters over an ideal course and distance.
Green Haze is 5kg under sufferance and will have to improve considerably on his staying on 2,25 length second in the Victory Moon.
Shenanigans is 4,5kg under sufferance but will be cherry ripe and from pole position is capable of running on into the money.
Bize is 5,5kg under sufferance and this is tough although she has class and will be staying on from a high draw.
Flying Wonder is 5,5kg under sufferance but might improve over this trip having stayed on well for third from way back in the Charity Mile.
Sunshine Silk is 5,5kg under sufferance and has a tough task from a high draw, although she is capable of staying on well.
Al Mutakawel is officially 7kg under sufferance but he has not had much opportunity to prove himself and this full-brother to SA Derby winner Al Sahem could do well from a plum draw as he has a sustained finish and will relish the course and distance.
By David Thiselton