Mike De Kock's Horse Racing Picks: Scottsville

Betway Ambassador Mike de Kock saddles his 2024 Durban July hopeful, Dave The King, in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1500m at Scottsville on Sunday. Dave The King’s versatility and hard galloping action has made him competitive in major races, but he has only managed three wins so far. At MR126 he is the highest-rated three-time winner in the country, favoured by the conditions of the Pinnacle Stakes and probably best suited to this unusual distance.

Mike said: “Dave The King had quite a tough autumn campaign in Gauteng, but he has enjoyed a short rest. He is doing fine and he’s in a good space. He has freshened up nicely and should run a good race, has a chance. Our other runner Shoemaker also comes off a rest. He came along steadily in autumn and won a race in March, but we had issues after that win which has set him back. He will need the run back.”

Mike will also send out four runners on the standside track at Turffontein. He said:

Race 1, 1400m: “As noted last time, we were disappointed in Inqwele’s first run, and expected him to improve in his second run, which he did. He’s come on from that, working well and is crying for the extra ground. This is his peak run, he should be involved in the finish.”

Race 5, 1400m: “Festival Magic was extremely disappointing in his last run in January, we liked him a bit that day but he trailed in way behind. There was an excuse as he pulled up with an issue and has had to have a bit of a rest since. He’s a very capable horse, but needs to find his form. On his work at home, he is not too far off it. Our newcomer Top Seed is a nice colt by Legislate. He is showing us some good work and if he’s not too green he will be right there on his debut.”

Race 7, 2450m: “Mambo Come Tesio enjoys this course and distance. I think he was just a bit unlucky in the race won by Weather Wizard two weeks ago. He was not in a good position early and cast a shoe during the running of the race. With a bit more luck and a better early position he should go close again.”

Former classic contender, Zapatillas, returns to the track at Kenilworth on Saturday following a 10-month absence and will contest the topliner, Race 7 over 1400m. Brett Crawford’s runner normally races well after a break and is well treated at the weights but, if he is ring-rusty, up-and-coming distance specialist San Pedro could pose a threat. This well-bred prospect won impressively from a deep draw recently, appears to be ahead of the handicapper and has a winning chance on his handy galloping weight alone. Candice Bass Robinson’s Sugar Mountain, in his own Cape return after an out-of-sorts run in Gauteng, is unbeaten over the course and distance in four previous starts. He makes some appeal too, alongside San Pedro’s well-performed stablemates, Look For Hounds and Silver Operator. In all, however, the value lies with San Pedro, who has opened at 7-1 on the Betway boards.

John and Thady Gosden’s sensational mare, Inspiral, has won Group 1 races in the UK, France and the USA. She hasn’t raced since her Breeders’ Cup success in the Fillies and Mares Turf last October, but her trainers are masters at the art of bringing their runners back in winning condition. She should pack too much ability for her male rivals in Race 4, the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes on the straight mile at Newbury.

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Published: 05/17/2024