YAKEEN WINS JUBILEE
Ken Nicol: Mike de Kock’s Yakeen gave himself a chance of making the final Vodacom July field with an extremely gutsy win in the Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap at Turffontein on Sunday.
This is one of the races where the winner is given ‘preferential’ status in terms of choosing the final field, although it is worth remembering that last year’s winner Coral Fever ended up not getting an invite to the big show.
Trading Profit set a reasonable pace, and went two lengths clear of Jubilee Line, Deo Juvente and Fort Ember in the early stages.
Jubilee Line came through to lead about 600m out, but the major contenders were lining up, as July entries Social Order, Tilbury Fort and Yakeen all began to make an impression from off the pace.
Social Order briefly looked threatening, but coming to the closing stages only the latter pair were left to fight it out.
Yakeen made his run on the inside rail and Tilbury Fort up the centre, and it appeared that Lyle Hewitson was about to score a second Group win in two days as his mount put it’s nose in front.
However Muzi Yeni on Yakeen coaxed a little more out of the Teofilio colt, and he put his head down at the right time to score by a desperate short head.
Afterwards Yeni said: “I fancied him today, but I was really concerned when he was overracing early on. It was a courageous win.”
De Kock had a brilliant day with no less than five winners to add to the two Listed Juvenile events he nabbed at Greyville on Saturday.
Already qualified July entrants Abashiri and Liege both had prep runs in the 1400 Pinnacle.
Abashiri was an encouraging fifth beaten just over three lengths. Liege didn’t fare so well, twelve lengths adrift in his first appearance since winning the Summer Cup last November.
Piere Strydom made a winning comeback to riding after his neck injury. Down To Zero won the third, a Graduation Plate by a length, ahead of De Kock favourite Naafer.