MIKE DE KOCK
Mike Moon: Mike de Kock just missed out on a Gauteng Guineas double at Turffontein on Saturday, but might scrape a smidgeon of compensation at the Vaal on Tuesday, where racing takes place on the Classic course.
His three-year-old filly Greener Pastures is the lone female lining up in Race 7, an Assessment Plate, but appears to have enough in her favour to gain the advantage over six male rivals.
This daughter of Gimmethegreenlight comes in with a lofty merit rating of 93 despite only having one win on her record.
By contrast, her main threat here, Sean Tarry-trained four-year-old Warrior’s Rest, is on a mark of 91 after two wins.
Greener Pastures got a chunk of her high rating after a good second place in a fairly strong Assessment Plate in December – her first run after a maiden win in her fourth start.
The handicappers are clearly impressed with De Kock’s youngster, yet under race conditions for the 1450m contest she will carry a significant 5.5kg less than Warrior’s Rest – theoretically giving her many lengths start.
Muzi Yeni, still fizzing with energy midway through a very busy riding season, is a major plus in the saddle as he’s partnered the filly on a few occasions already and knows her quirks.
Warrior’s Rest is partnered by rising star Dennis Schwarz and the duo must be given plenty of respect.
This son of What A Winter has been keeping classy company over the past year and is obviously well thought of by the canny Tarry.
Blinkers are fixed for the first time in the gelding’s 14-race career and might be something he has been needing. Another notable change is a drop in trip from the 1600m-plus he has been galloping – down to 1450m, which,
pedigree-wise, looks up his street.
Exotic punters seeking a banker should go with Greener Pastures, but Warrior’s Rest shouldn’t be le out of larger
For Trifectas and Quartets, the likes of Monopolize, trained by in form Paul Peter, ridden by ever predatory Gavin Lerena and with a MR of 86, is the next most obvious inclusion.
Make Your Move, seeking to double up for trainer Ormond Ferraris and jockey Piere Strydom, cannot be left out, while Victor Forth and Copenhagen could provide some value.
The second Assessment Plate on the card, Race 6 over 2400m, is a slightly less classy affair, but could produce a tight finish.
Three candidates stand out –Hands Of Man, Master And Man and Two Of Us – and not just because of the synchronicity of their names.
Hands Of Man, trained by Paul Matchett, loved the step up to a marathon distance when he trotted up in his last start and will surely be in the reckoning again.
Master And Man from Gary Alexander’s yard has also shown his staying credentials of late and must be included in all bets.
Two Of Us, by current boom sire Twice Over, could develop into something special for Paul Peter. He had excuses for failing in a feature last time out and can be expected to bounce back to the form he showed in winning his maiden after being gelded in November.
To take a bet, go to www.tabonline.co.za or www.bettingworld.co.za