MIKE DE KOCK
Jack Milner: This year’s Vodacom Durban July is probably the toughest he has seen, says trainer Mike de Kock.
“Barring Soqrat, all the best horses in the country are there,” he said yesterday.
De Kock saddles two runners – 2-1 favourite Hawwaam and 6-1 shot Barahin, both three-year-olds.
Ask him which he sees as the possible winner, De Kock is reticent to give an answer.
The reason? “Hawwaam probably has a tad more class but it is a while since we’ve seen the best of Barahin.
The last time he raced at his best, he beat Soqrat at Greyville so he has to be right up there.”
Then he has to deal with the personality of the two horses. “Hawwaam is not straightforward. You don’t know what he’s going to do…whether he will jump slowly, or whether he will pull. This is also the first time he is running in an 18-horse field so we don’t know how he will cope.
“Barahin is a one-dimensional horse. He’ll relax near the back of the field and run on late.”
What could affect Barahin is the pace and in that regard, De Kock had a slight dig at the jockeys who he says will dictate the tempo of the race. What has happened previously in the race is that many of them are duped into following the leader rather than judging the pace they need for their own mounts.
“I think whoever sizes it up properly early on, who gets his horse into a good position, will have the advantage. The race can be won and lost over the first 200m.
“It’s always going to be tactical when you have a 18-horse field. You have speed on your inside and outside and only a few jockeys who understand that.”
De Kock did admit that one thing he likes about Hawwaam is that he knows how to win, something he proved he could do when winning the Grade 1 Daily News 2000.
“Despite Justin Snaith’s assertion to the contrary, nothing went to plan. We wanted to lead but he was left at the start, others got first run on him and he still won. He doesn’t know how to lose, even in Daily News he knew what to do.”
The stable also have three other runners on the day, starting with The Dazzler in Race 3, the Grade 3 Betting World 2200. “We ran him in the KZN Breeders Million Mile on Saturday but he only had a gallop so we chose to run him again.”
Mawsool will be lining up in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m but he is more hopeful than anything else. “She’s not a bad filly but we’re running her more for the fact she has a good draw. I would say she has a place chance.”
Their final runner is Aqua Delta in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m. “He’s an interesting horse. He won well on debut and he seems a nice horse. He’s looking for the trip but he’s only had one run and he is inexperienced.
“This will tell us how good he is. If he is good enough, David (Ferraris) a wants to take him to Hong Kong.”
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