A perfect tactical plan come together gave South Africa’s greatest modern day trainer Mike De Kock his 102nd Gr1 winner when the dazzlingly fast Australian-bred 3yo Alboran Sea held on in a tight finish to win the R1 million Gr1 Cape Flying Championship in a thriller.
A magical mix of bureaucracy and some typical De Kock genius strategy combined to give the daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar a terrific second career Gr1 victory and she looks to have the world at her feet – in more ways than one!
Forced by AHS red tape to send his charge down to Cape Town early, De Kock turned the potential negative into a major positive by allowing the therapeutic sea water to work magic while his star enjoyed her days in the hospitable care of Brett Crawford at Phillipi.
That element of Cape feelgood therapy, combined with a fine reading of the race by the master trainer and his ace jockey Weichong Marwing, climaxed in a great comeback after the recent Southern Cross Stakes disappointment behind Fly By Night.
And who can ever forget how the then 2yo Alboran Sea stepped into the breach after her champion stablemate Majmu was a shock late scratching on the eve of the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship at Scottsville last year and went on and destroyed a top-class field?
Alongside Carry On Alice, Alboran Sea was one of only two 3yo fillies in the Cape’s premier summer sprint and took on a powerful speed squad, smattered with Gr1 winners.
The ghost that seems to haunt the Cape feature sprint starts from time to time arrived on time again with Normanz bursting through the gates and delaying matters as his breast-plate was replaced.
This caused a knock-on effect with most of the field being unloaded and a few left falling asleep in the stalls.
Unfortunately Normanz fell victim to his own initiative, missing the break in the end as the field jumped with an unseasonal gale-force tailwind helping them along.
Trip Tease and Happy Forever were very smartly away as Marwing tucked Alboran Sea in about two lengths off them early down the inside.
The top-class international jockey had little choice but to let Alboran Sea go for broke at the 400m and she bounced away as Sean Cormack brought Diadem Stakes winner Captain Of All with a powerful run down the centre.
In the drive to the wire a nostril separated the two with the decision going the filly’s way.
Alboran Sea got the verdict by a short head in a time of 56,53 secs. Carry On Alice stayed on well for third, just ahead of Tevez.
Weichong Marwing rode an absolute cracker of a race.
It was a happy moment for Mary Slack after the sad passing of Mauritzfontein stallion Fort Wood earlier on.
“It is a great pleasure to have a Gr1 win for Mike and Mary Slack. We realised that there was a lot of speed in the race and we wanted to give her a chance. She is still a young filly. But things didn’t map out as we planned. Trip Tease was up front as we expected but his speed wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t as far back as I wanted. I thought Captain Of All got me on the wire,” said Marwing.
Trainer Mike De Kock said that he can see why horses flourished and enjoyed the Cape so much. He said he was appreciative of the efforts of the Brett Crawford team and would talk to Mary Slack about ‘an international plane ticket’ after the Computaform Sprint and SA Fillies Sprint.”
Alboran Sea was an A$105 000 Inglis Premier purchase. By Rock Of Gibraltar she is out of the US bred daughter of Toolighttoquit, Lady’s Light. Bred by Rosemont Stud, Alboran Sea hails from a big American Black Type family. She has now won 4 of her 8 starts with 3 places and R1 317 250 in stakes.
With possibly just two Gr1 races remaining of what is likely to be the balance of her South African career, Alboran Sea looks poised to leave our shores with plenty in the bank – and many wins in the tank to come.
As for Mike De Kock’s fine achievement. The stats tell the story. Well done Mike.
Gr1 Cape Flying Championship (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 24, R1 million, 1000m, turf, good, 56.53
1 – ALBORAN SEA (AUS), 54.0, b f 3, Rock Of Gibraltar (IRE) – Lady’s Light (USA) by Toolighttoquit (USA). Owner Mrs M Slack & Mr M B Javett; Breeder bred in Australia; trainer MF de Kock; jockey Wei Marwing
2 – Captain Of All (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Serious Side (SAF) by Fard (IRE)
3 – Carry On Alice (SAF), 54.0, b f 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Carry On Katie (SAF) by Western Winter (USA)
Margins: 0.05, 1.50, 0.75