Today's Racecards: Mike De Kocks picks

Mike de Kock believes Sparkling Water poses a threat to odds-on favourite Kommetdieding in Saturday’s R2-million G1 Premier’s Champion Challenge over 2000m on a feature-packed Champions Day at Turffontein.

While Kommetdieding, the popular 2021 Durban July winner, is expected to be at his peak and hard to beat in this contest, Sparkling Water finds herself in top form and she’s fully wound up. Mike said: “She ran a terrific race in third to Princess Calla in last week’s postponed G1 Empress Club Stakes, and returned in wonderful shape. It’s wasn’t an ideal prep just a week out, but all I can say is that Sparkling Water is popping, very fit. Last week’s run didn’t take the edge off her. She’s been fresh at home, doing all the right things, eating up. All things being equal, if she gets a good passage on Saturday, and nothing goes wrong, I think she’ll go close.”

The stable’s day could start on a high note with two-year-old Shoemaker the horse to beat in Race 1 over 1600m, in which only seven runners go to post. He was an impressive debut winner in a 1400m Maiden Plate and Mike commented: “Shoemaker’s done well since his Maiden win, he has improved. I’m hoping he is a horse going places, this is a nice test, I’m not sure about the others in the race, but he is on the up, a nice sort who does a lot right at home. Good chance here.”

First-timer Simple Simple comes to the track in the G2 SA Fillies Nursery over 1160m, right in the deep end. Mike assessed: “Simple Simple shows a fair bit of pace, but she’s bred for a lot further. We’re not expecting to win it, we’ll be happy to earn a fourth or a fifth place in this competitive line-up. I entered her here because it’s small field with a nice enough stake.”

Union Square (Race 4), another impressive first-up winner, takes his place in the G2 Heineken Colts Nursery over 1160m. He ran on powerfully over the course and distance when winning his Maiden and he’s already made a few experts’ notebooks. Mike said: “Union Square is a horse I like. He has a lot of natural pace, though gives me the impression he’s a Guineas horse. He’s got classic speed, but there are some true and impressive sprinters in the race and they won’t be easily beaten. But Union Square is smart, if he’s within three or four lengths of the speedy runners at the 400m-mark, I’d expect him to finish in the first three. He’ll be running at them, late.”

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Barak (Race 8) is in the Gold Bowl over 3200m, he has good form over this distance. What you see is what you get, he is often thereabouts and produces fair efforts. He must have a shout with just 52kg to shoulder and warrants consideration in a small field.”

Victory Of Dubai (Race 10) needed the experience in his first outing and hung out a bit. He’s come on with the run and should make some improvement here, but he is on the moderate side. We’d be happy if he can run into the Quartet.”

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Published: 04/29/2022