While the boss is golfing in Greece, the Mike de Kock racing team have kept the home fires sizzling in cavalier style with a feature double at Greyville and five winners at Turffontein on Sunday, which included a possible July winning ticket for their Australian bred 3yo Yakeen.
Mathew de Kock has proven his ability to step into the shoes of the giant when needed, and after saddling a Listed feature double at Greyville on the coast 24 hours earlier, he was back in office at Turffontein on Sunday saddling five great winners.
And Mat’s biggest win of the day came when Yakeen, a mostly unexposed son of Teofilo, showed resolve and courage when coming back in the final strides of the R250 000 Gr3 Jubilee Handicap (1800m) under a determined Muzi Yeni to nab the improved-since-gelding Tilbury Fort on the line.
While Muzi Yeni is booked for Coral Fever, and on paper Yakeen has some way to go to show he is good enough, the still improving 3yo deserves consideration for the Vodacom Durban July – and Mathew de Kock confirmed the big one on 7 July to be the short-term goal.
With the long-shots Trading Profit and Jubilee Line showing the way to Gr1 winner Deo Juvente and Fort Ember, Muzi Yeni had Yakeen relaxed 7 lengths off the action.
He made his move at the top of the straight and went past Jubilee Line, as the action was concentrated down the middle outside – with the Tarry duo of Tilbury Fort and Social Order finishing well.
As Lyle Hewitson was again looking to have timed his run to perfection on Tilbury Fort, Yeni found reserves of courage on his year younger mount to get the verdict.
The photo showed that Yakeen had won the July ‘preferential consideration’ race by a nose in a time of 110,32 secs..
Tilbury Fort, who came in off two wins, has certainly found his best form and is another that comes into the big race picture.
Piere Strydom, who won on his first ride back after a month on the injured list earlier in the day, produced Arctica late for third, with Social Order not quite going through with his effort in fourth.
Best of the balance of the July candidates was Deo Juvente (sixth and 2,90 lengths) who ran a slightly improved race after a dull patch.
Fort Ember looks unlikely to make the July trip after she faded badly to finish 21 lengths behind the winner.
Bought for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum by Jehan Malherbe of Form Bloodstock for A$160 000 off the Yarran Park draft at the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in 2016, Yakeen is a son of the Irish star Teofilo (Galileo), who was undefeated in his only five career starts and won two Gr1’s. He was named European Champion Two-Year-Old in 2006.
The winner is out of the unraced Royal Academy daughter Reine, a half-sister to champion 2yo and stallion Nadeem (Redoute’s Choice).
The granddam won the NZ Oaks and Jehan Malherbe told the Sporting Post that he feels that the 3yo will stay.
“One of Teofilo’s best was Trading Leather who won the Irish Derby. His progeny average 1960m. So the blood is there and the fact that he shows some speed is an indicator of class,” said the veteran bloodstock consultant.
Yakeen has won 4 races with 1 place from 6 starts for stakes of R379 575.
His one below-par run came in the Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes where he made a respiratory noise after finishing 6 lengths behind subsequent Gr1 winner Surcharge.
Gr3 Jubilee Handicap (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, June 10, R250k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.50.32
1 – YAKEEN (AUS), 53.0, b c 3, Teofilo (IRE) – Reine (AUS) by Royal Academy (USA). Owner Al Adiyaat South Africa (Pty) Ltd; Breeder bred in Australia; trainer MF de Kock; jockey M Yeni
2 – Tilbury Fort (SAF), 55.5, b g 4, Horse Chestnut (SAF) – Colleen (SAF) by Restructure
3 – Arctica (SAF), 56.5, b g 5, Captain Al (SAF) – Little Grey Wolf (IRE) by Indian Ridge (ANY)
Margins: 0.05, 1.50, 0.25