Jack Milner: Mike de Kock is delighted with the work currently being put up by both of his runners in Saturday’s R1-million Cartier Paddock Stakes over 1800m at Kenilworth, Nother Russia and Orchid Island.
While he acknowledges Nother Russia might have the edge, he warns not to ignore Orchid Island in the Grade 1 race
“One has to think Nother Russia is the better of the two. She won two very good races before coming down to the Cape and she’s come on since then. She’s guts and class.
“But Orchid Island’s legs are not tied. She ran a great race in the Summer Cup and looked a possible winner at the 400m before tiring late. I always felt she needed one more run before the Summer Cup so I was very happy with that effort.”
Nother Russia, who will once again be ridden by Craig Zackey, is quoted as the 22-10 favourite by Betting World while Orchid Island, who has JP van der Merwe up for the first time, is on offer at 16-1.
De Kock also saddles Big Parade in the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m and he is expecting a decent run from the son of Dynasty. “He was beaten by a well-handicapped four-year-old last time so I thought that was a good run.
“He’s a progressive sort and back against his own age group should be competitive.”
The other piece of exciting news for the yard is that last season’s SA Classic winner, Heavenly Blue, will be having his first run since finishing third behind Al Sahem in the SA Derby in May last year in Race 4 at Turffontein on Sunday, a Progress Plate over 1600m.
“Heavenly Blue is coming off knee-chip surgery but he has been in work solidly for four months. But I’ve done as much as I can here.
“He’s still likely to be a bit rusty but it’s not about Sunday, it’s about his well-being. I just want him to come through the run well and if he does, he will be off to Cape Town to run in the Sun Met.”