Despite a 27 hour road trip to the Cape and a week off work, Mike de Kock’s Australian import Soqrat showed his class and set himself up for a tilt at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate when he outgunned his seven rivals to win the R1 million Gr1 Cape Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday.
A winner of the Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes last term, Soqrat had run a highly meritorious length third to veteran Captain Aldo in the Joburg Spring Challenge at his only start this term.
But that form appeared to pale into insignificance when viewed against the progressive undefeated Concorde Cup winner One World, who came into the race unbeaten on home turf.
But this is the top league and Mike de Kock was bristling to recapture a trophy won by his team in consecutive years with Flight Alert (2002) and Domino Man (2003) and in 2015 with the ill-fated Noah From Goa.
Nicely tucked in third as Cape Classic winner Twist Of Fate led One World into the home run, Soqrat was always going well.
At the 300m, the animated Bernard Fayd’herbe set sail for home as Twist Of Fate grabbed a two length gap with One World under pressure.
At the 150m Twist Of Fate had a squeak, but Soqrat had been switched out and the Aussie import lengthened smartly to go on to win by 1,25 lengths in a time of 98,79 secs.
Twist Of Fate ran a gutsy race to hold on for that long on the summer straight, while One World tired late and ran on one-paced for third a further half length adrift.
The Sean Tarry duo of Cirillo and Chimichuri Run produced no kind of run and ran fourth and unplaced respectively.
Jockey Randall Simons said it was a ‘long but awesome day’ and attributed Soqrat’s success to his impeccable temperament.
Mathew de Kock indicated that they may try their luck in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on 5 January. That is shaping up into a humdinger!
Bred by Shadwell Australasia, Soqrat who races for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, is by Epaulette (Commands), a multiple Gr1 winning sprinter, who stands for a fee of A$27 500.
Soqrat is out of the two-time winner Elzeeza (Hussonet), who won up to 1200m. He has won 4 (dual Gr1’s) of his 6 starts with 2 places and took his stakes tally to R1 385 000.
Gr1 Cape Guineas (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, December 15, R1 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.38.79
1 – SOQRAT (AUS), 60.0, b c 3, Epaulette (AUS) – Elzeeza (AUS) by Hussonet (USA). Owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum; Breeder bred in Australia; trainer MF de Kock; jockey R Simons
2 – Twist Of Fate (SAF), 60.0, b c 3, Master Of My Fate (SAF) – Crescent Lily (SAF) by Counter Action (SAF)
3 – One World (SAF), 60.0, b c 3, Captain Al (SAF) – Aquilonia (USA) by Giant’s Causeway (USA)
Margins: 1.25, 0.50, 1.75