The Sansui Summer Cup draw somewhat overshadowed the track proceedings at Turffontein on 15 November. That said, Mike De Kock produced another ace from up his sleeve with the Elusive Quality colt Merhee winning like he is something special and booking his berth in The Dingaans.
It was a night of mixed fortunes for De Kock though with 2008 winner Rudra drawing 20 and Mushreq and Golden Chateau not quite coming up to expectations. On the flipside, the champion trainer would have been pleased to see his Singspiel mare Atlantic Oak return to her winning ways.
The opposition that Merhee will meet in the R500 000 Gr2 Investec Dingaans on Summer Cup day is far removed from the straggly bunch that he annihilated here, but he won in a canter. Weichong Marwing produced the Elusive Quality colt at the 300m mark in the Maiden Plate over 1160m and he ran right away from the opposition to win gearing down. His jockey said he felt that if this fellow continued to improve he would be a ‘top horse’ in time. Marwing sticks with him in The Dingaans where he has pulled a 10 draw in the fourteen horse field.
De Kock has a five way coupling representing him in the big race and this includes four Aussie breds – including the Flying Spur colt Mushreq and the Chateau Istana colt Golden Chateau. These two finished with an inch between them in the Graduation Plate over 1600m and Mushreq was only 85% fit according to John Buckler. De Kock will be scratching his head as to how a fairly average five year old in Mirage Drive finished ahead of both. He will no doubt have them a lot fitter in ten days time.
Anthony Delpech rode the other De Kock winner when he piloted Atlantic Oak to a brave win in the Conditions Plate over 1600m. Ascribing her recent form slump to a failed blinker experiment in the Off To Stud Handicap at Scottsville in July, her jockey felt that the slow pace had counted against her here over a distance short of her best. George Scott’s Stormy Coast kept her honest all the way to the post and she will also come along nicely with this run.
David Mollett and Gareth Pepper hosted Tellytrack on-course and they did a fine job in between the distraction of the big race draw and some ladies in pink. Mollett welcomed and introduced PE presenter Rod McCurdy to viewers. The former professional cricketer is apparently now based permanently in Johannesburg and the likeable 51 year old can only add value with his casual and self-deprecating approach. The former fast bowler made 11 one-day appearances in 1984-85 before throwing in his lot with Kim Hughes’s rebels. McCurdy played for three different Australian states, as well as Derbyshire in England and finished his career at three South African provinces. He was no stranger to controversy, suffering from repeated no-balling on the field and once allegedly kicking his team manager off it. Probably his best performance came on Christmas Eve 1986 when he took 6 for 67 against South Africa in an unofficial Test. He appears to have mellowed somewhat from those fiery days.
The draw for the Sansui Summer Cup field was held in the Centenary Room at Turffontein during the meeting and ably hosted by Phumelela’s Clyde Basel. An element of nervousness and trepidation appeared to cloud the proceedings though as the lovely pink clad hostesses drew the balls out of the fish-bowl in what appeared to be close to sequential order in stages. Basel urged his pretty Assistants to keep shuffling ‘the toys’, and even Tellytrack presenter Dave Mollett muttered a reference to this numerical anomaly as he informed us that the Alexanders were ‘absolutely gutted’ at their champion’s shocking luck. Pierre Jourdan drew 19 and Dougie Whyte has been replaced by his regular local pilot, Derreck David – who somehow stays loyal in spite of the musical chair mentality.
Gavin Van Zyl’s brilliant son of Mogok, The Apache, drew pole position but the elation of this treat was dampened somewhat by Phumelela Betting Executive Vee Moodley’s apparent swipe at the ride given him by his regular pilot Raymond Danielson on Friday evening. Interviewed by Basel after the draw as to his feelings on the draws and the chances of the runners, Moodley questioned the ride given to The Apache in the Gr3 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein on Friday evening. The impact of what Moodley was trying to suggest was more in his facial expression and what he wasn’t saying, than anything else. The Apache finished in third spot that night and four lengths off surprise winner Smanjemanje. There was no reference to any investigation in the Stipes Report of that evening’s racing. It is strange indeed to meet an outspoken senior racing executive these days!
The Sansui Summer Cup (Grade 1) (Proudly hosted by Gauteng) R2-million 2000m
1 – 19 PIERRE JOURDAN (G M Alexander) D Whyte 60.0 – 116
2 – 1 THE APACHE (G H Van Zyl) R Danielson 58.5 – 114
3 – 4 DANCEWITHTHEDEVIL (S J Gray) G Lerena 58.0 – 112
4 – 5 ILSANPIETRO (M F De Kock) W Marwing 56.5 – 109
5 – 14 BLACK WING (P M Gadsby) S Cormack 55.0 – 107
6 – 13 SEAL (G H Van Zyl) M Mienie 55.0 – 107
7 – 9 BULSARA (G H Van Zyl) K Teetan 55.0 – 106
8 – 20 RUDRA (M F De Kock) A Marcus 55.0 – 106
9 – 8 JET JAMBOREE (D Zaki) P Strydom 54.5 – 106
10 – 2 QUEEN’S BAY (M G Azzie) R Fourie 54.5 – 105
11 – 3 PRINCESS OF LIGHT (G V Woodruff) D Mansour 53.5 – 104
12 – 11 FLIRTATION (M F De Kock) G Hatt 53.5 – 103
13 – 12 SMANJEMANJE (T Zackey) G van Niekerk 53.5 – 103
14 – 10 MAGICAL (O A Ferraris) M Yeni 53.0 – 102
15 – 6 PERANA (M F De Kock) A Delpech 52.5 – 102
16 – 7 REGAL RANSOM (S G Tarry) S Khumalo 52.5 – 101
17 – 15 SOUL MASTER (G V Woodruff) F Coetzee 52.0 – 98
18 – 17 CAPTAIN SCOTT (A G Laird) J P v’d Merwe 52.0 – 96
19 – 18 GOLD ONYX (S G Tarry) R Fradd 52.0 – 96
20 – 16 POWER PARK (S G Tarry) N Juglall 52.0 – 96
Same Trainer: (2,6,7) (4,8,12,15) (11,17) (16,19,20)