The Mike de Kock team were “very proud” of the gutsy performance Soqrat put up in defeat in the Grade 1 Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup on Saturday and are now gearing up for the Cape Summer Season.
The Australian-bred colt by Epaulette jumped from a high draw and was caught wide without cover throughout. Yet, he still managed to run on strongly and, despite giving the winner and all of the other placed horses 8kg, he failed by just a couple of strides to get there in time.
In the process he obliterated any 2000m stamina doubts hanging over his head and will be heading to Cape Town to run in the L’Ormarins Queens Plate and the Sun Met.
At present there is an equine travel ban from Johannesburg to Cape Town due to an African Horse Sickness case within a 30km radius of Randjesfontein but the ban is expected to be lifted on the tenth of this month.
The De Kock team will travel down as soon as the ban is lifted.
Their Irish-bred filly Queen Supreme ran on from a handy position in the Summer Cup for a gallant 1,6 length fourth and a decision to send her down to Cape Town is pending. The Paddock Stakes will be her obvious target.
Matthew de Kock said, “She is still physically a three-year-old and only actually turns four in March so it was a fantastic performance for a filly of that age.”
The yard were also “chuffed” with Atyaab’s staying on fifth.
“Atyaab ran a very good race considering it was a distance short of his best and we will be sending him down to Cape Town for some staying races,” said Matthew.
Barahin started third favourite behind Soqrat and Queen Supreme and stayed on for a 2,85 length eighth.
Matthew said, “It was little disappointing but he is better when there has been a bit of rain. He is not easy to work with and has his niggles so prefers more forgiving ground.”
Cascapedia was tailed off after “choking up” and has been retired.
Matthew said, “She had been given a third surgery, but it has not worked.”
This big High Chaparral mare was always packed with class and will be a valuable addition to the broodmare band of her owners Mauritzfontein Stud. She won a Grade 2 over 1450m, two Grade 3s over 1800m and was placed three times in Grade 1 events.
The Australian-bred Frosted Gold was as courageous as ever on Saturday in the TAB/Betting World Dingaans and found another gear when it counted to draw away from the crack filly Cockney Pride. However, he had no answer to the devastating finish of the long-striding Shango and had to settle for second.
Mike de Kock had spoken beforehand about a slight doubt over this strongly built grey’s stamina over a mile. However, assessing his performance in the Dingaans, Matthew said this All Too Hard gelding should be tailor made for the easier Kenilworth mile. He has duly been nominated for the Grade 1 Cape Guineas.
One of the yard’s biggest disappointments on Saturday was Marshall, who went into the Dingaans unbeaten in two starts and was backed into favourite. The Vercingetorix colt was in a good position to strike in the straight but found little and finished second last.
He was found afterwards to be not striding out on his right fore. He is held in high regard and Matthew said, “At least we are not scratching our heads on the reason for the run.” The yard is not in a rush to get him into his next race and this magnificent looking colt should bounce back from this disappointment after taking a back seat for a while.
Another good three-year-old in the yard, Alibi Guy, is being looked upon as a Derby type, so is also not being rushed and is yet to make his seasonal reappearance.
The yard have a number of horses who qualify for forthcoming CTS sales races including Dublin Quays, Alramz and Battleoftrafalgar.
Meanwhile, Hawwaam continues to do well and will have his final Queen’s Plate and Met preparation race on Thursday at Turffontein in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1600m.
By David Thiselton