MIKE DE KOCK
Jack Milner: Thursday looks the ideal day for declaring “Marshall Law” at Turffontein.
There appear to be two outstanding bets on the card and remarkably, both have Marshall in their names. The first, Mike de Kock-trained Marshall, comes up on Race 5, a MR 109 Handicap over 1600m.
Racing is on the Inside track, a course on which this son Vercingetorix is unbeaten. The three-year-old won his first two races and then started favourite to win the Grade 2 Dingaans.
However, he suffered an injury during the running of the race and finished 11th in the 12-horse field.
De Kock gave him a rest and used the time to also have him gelded. Marshall returned to racing with a facile two-length win over 1450m on the inside track and started favourite to win the Non-Black Type Egoli Mile on the Vaal Classic course.
Seven Patriots went to the front and when Marshall cruised up alongside at the 400m mark, he appeared to have the race in the bag. But he failed to shake off the pacemaker and faded late. He was touched off on the line for second place which sent many BiPot tickets in the direction of the closest wheelie bin.
De Kock wasn’t sure whether his charge didn’t stay or whether it was just one of those flat second runs after a layoff or if he might not have seen out the distance. However, he did point out Marshall was giving 8kg to the runner-up.
He then ran in the Grade 1 SA Classic over 1800m and battled to overcome his wide No 14 draw in the 16-horse field. He turned for home quite a distance behind the pacemaker but made up seven lengths going to the 400m. After that he found little more but still stayed on to go down five lengths to Got The Greenlight.
This time De Kock appears to have found the perfect race for his charge. Marshall has won over the course and distance and comes into this race with just 52kg to carry. He is drawn No 7 which is not perfect, but Callan Murray knows him well and the draw should prove no barrier.
After that race, put all your winnings on Marshall Foch in Race 6, a MR 102 Handicap over 2000m. This brings together the unrelenting team of Warren Kennedy and Paul Peter who have had a remarkable association this season.
In his last seven races, Marshall Foch has won four, been runner-up twice and had a fourth place. As far as his performance on the Inside track is concerned, he has run three times for two wins and a 0.50-length second.
He led all the way to beat Hellofaride, to whom he was giving 7kg, by 3.75 lengths and although up in class this time, he does carry 4.5kg less. He looks another standout bet.