Rudra, all on his own!
“MIKE targeted him at this race and this is Mike’s game…the Group Ones. This is where it counts.’’ That is how jockey Kevin Shea described his victory on 3-1 favourite Rudra in Saturday’s R2 million Steinhoff Summer Cup over 2000m at Turffontein.
<p>Mike de Kock reeled off his eighth win in this race and as expected, he had Rudra in tip-top shape on the day. “I must admit the preparation was perfect,’’ said De Kock. “In many cases you have days where there are niggling problems that need to be sorted out. With Rudra there were none. Right now he’s probably the soundest horses in my yard.’’<br /> <br /> While Rudra drifted from his midweek price of 2-1 and second favourite Smart Banker moved from 28-10 to 15-4, there was support for runners like Gliding High and one of De Kock’s other entries, Galant Gagnant.</p> <p>With four runners in the race it was no surprise that De Kock’s Equal Image set a comfortable pace with Speed For Gold in second and Membrado travelling on the inside of Eddington.</p> <p>She’s On Fire was tracked by Prince Asad while Gliding High, Likeithot and Senor Versace ran three abreast behind the pacemakers. At that point Shea had Rudra travelling well within himself some 10 lengths off the leaders with Smart Banker tracking him.</p> <p>Once the field came for home345 they started spreading across the track as Senor Versace and Prince Asad came forward to challenge for the lead. But anybody who switched their eyes to the outer rail would have noticed Rudra travelling ominously well.</p> <p>“Mike told me to ride him confidently and that’s what I did,’’ said Shea. “At the 400m mark he was going so well and the others were all under pressure. I just counted to three and pulled the trigger.’’</p> <p>Rudra bulleted into the lead at the 300m mark and despite ducking over to the inside rail, Shea was looking over his shoulder well before the line. All he saw was daylight and immediately he began to ease up son of Parade Leader. He also began saluting the crowd a couple of strides too early and fell foul of the stipes, who imposed a one-week ban on him, although Shea is still permitted to ride Zirconeum in Saturday’s Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth. </p> <p>Smart Banker raced past all the beaten horses to claim second spot, a flattering three lengths back with Senor Versace finishing a further 1.25 lengths back in third and Prince Asad fourth.</p> <p>Interestingly Thandolwami, Likeithot and Gliding High, who finished second, first and fifth respectively in the Charity Mile November Handicap, ran fifth sixth and seventh on Saturday. As expected, Rudra was the only one of the four who showed massive improvement.</p> <p>De Kock even joked how they had acquired Rudra, now R1,2 million richer. “I liked him at the sale but he didn’t reach his reserve. We’d had a few drinks and were in high spirits when I saw Mike Rattray (from Lammerskraal Stud) and asked him how much he wanted for the horse.’’</p> <p>Rattray replied R375 000 and De Kock said: “You’ve got a deal.’’</p> <p>“All the guys around started saying they wanted to take a share and that’s how we set up the partnership.’’</p> <p>Rudra won’t go to the Cape for the season but he will be rested and then go for some of the big races in Gauteng before going on to KZN.</p> <p>De Kock was also expected to come away with top honours in the Grade 2 Unitrans Dingaans over 1600m but all four entries failed to fire and it was Charles Laird who claimed the laurels with striking colt Oracy.</p> <p>He had only run once for a maiden win and even Laird though inexperience may cost him the race. That was not in the thoughts of French jockey Christophe Soumillon, who substituted injured Anton Marcus on the Zabeel colt.</p> <p>“I told Christophe that if this race was run in three or four months time nothing can beat him,’’ said Laird, to which Soumillon replied: “I’ll make the difference.’’</p> <p>He most certainly did and Oracy got the better of Captain’s Table in a tight finish to win by a neck. “I want to win a race in every country in the world and now I have won one in South Africa,’’ said Soumillon, who also spared a thought for Marcus, who was sidelined after a fall at the Vaal on Thursday.</p> <p>“I feel sorry for Anton. He gave me nice instructions about the horse. But he will be a good horse in South Africa, especially over longer distances.’’</p> <p>Piere Strydom spoke highly of Captain’s Table in the Racing Express on Friday but gave the view the horse Captain Al gelding also needed further and would also improve with time.</p> <p>Third-placed Sporting Boy was the unlucky horse of the race as Johnny Geroudis had to switch him a number of times and did not get the clearest of passages. Alec Laird’s runner is definitely worth following.</p> <p>Forest Path pulled once again in a sedate-run race and De Kock said” “He’s now raced twice over 1600m and failed. As long as he pulls the way he does he’s not going to see it out.’’</p> <p>Something Else proved to trainer Joey Ramsden that he does not need the rain to win a race in Johannesburg. Starting at 33-1 the seven-year-old burst through late under Darryl Holland to beat Rebel King by a head.</p> <p>Boom horse Warm White Night did well enough to finish fifth, only 2.25 lengths behind the winner and should improve after his rest.</p> <p>The Hertz Fillies Mile was one in a canter by Ormond Ferraris’s Sweet Theresa (10-1), who sprinted away from her field under Weichong Marwing to beat Thin Red Line by 3.50 lengths.</p> <p>Marwing was back in the winner’s box in the Grade 3 Racing Association Handicap over 3200m when Long Dollar took the lead at the 4000m mark and kept up a relentless gallop to hold off Santa and Western Walk. <br /> .       <br />   <br />     </p> <p> </p>