Mike De Kock's Horse Racing Picks: Turffontein

4Racing has scheduled an unusual Friday, day/night meeting featuring eight races at Turffontein on Friday, 17 November – the first off at 15:35 and the last at 19:40.

Betway’s Racing Ambassador, Mike de Kock, has a four-runner card (Bonete has been scratched from Race 3 and Beamonesque won’t be contesting Race 8), which leaves Littlemaryshunshine as his only contender in this first Leg of the afternoon’s Pick 6. A notch down in class from her last run, Littlemaryshunshine is a definite inclusion for Pick 6 permutations; she looks overdue for another win.

Mike said: “She ran a good race from a poor draw last time, and from far back in a Class A Handicap against the colts. Back against fillies, over 1800m, I’d like to believe she’ll be well in contention near the end of this race, she has a chance.”

In Race 5 over 1600m, Courageous Cat backs up just a week after his first post-rest run and better is expected. “He blew up last week, faded out. But he came from that run very well. He’s had a long, hard road to get fit. The only way I’m going to get him to his peak is by racing him. He stumbled at the start and was a bit fresh and free last time. He will need to be ridden with more restraint and I think he’ll run well. Despite finishing 12 lengths behind the winners last week, I give him a shout again, don’t ignore him.”

The game mare, Humdinger, returns to her favourite distance in Race 6 over 1400m and Piere Strydom get a leg up, first time. “Humdinger is in a competitive field, but she always is, really. She is a quality filly. Fillies are generally well treated in these Pinnacle stakes. She’s up against some real class in Feather Boa and Peach Daiquiri. They are the runners to beat, but Humdinger is not out of it. She had to change tactics from a wide draw in the Charity Mile last time, came from way back and ran a cracker even though she was unplaced,” said Mike.

Woman Of Power gave some cheek in a race won by Nettleton last time, a good third for Mike’s runner after winning her Maiden. She’s in Race 7 over 1000m and Mike assessed: “Woman Of Power is quite speedy. Her debut back in May was over 1000m and she ran the decent Cala Mureta to a neck. I also like the form of her last run, as she gave weight to the older filly that won, and the runner-up also looked a fair sort. That form may well stand up. She is well drawn and must be a big runner, probably our best one for the meeting.”

The draw ceremony for the 2023 G1 Betway Summer Cup (R5-million, 2000m, 25 November) was conducted in style at the Marabi Club in New Doornfontein, Johannesburg on Wednesday evening. It was well attended.

Steered by Clyde Basel, proceedings got under way with addresses from 4Racing’s Head of Racing Operations Gabriel Soma and Betway’s Head of Customer Experience Jonathan Blumberg. Betway Ambassadors Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry reflected on Betway’s impact on the Highveld racing landscape, before the focus shifted to the all-important Barrier Draw ceremony. 

The coveted no 1 draw went the way of Mike’s Aragosta, with the rest of his arsenal, Safe Passage, Shoemaker and East Coast drawing 9, 18 and 16 respectively. Sean Tarry’s three-strong draft comprising Cousin Casey, Bless My Stars and Litigation drew 12, 2 and 17.

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Published: 11/17/2023