Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA
Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA

Trainer Mike de Kock has never been one to count his chickens before they hatch, but SA’s best-known trainer has to fancy his chances of winning the R2m  G-Bets Summer Cup at Turffontein on December 1.

In latest betting on the 2,000m race, De Kock has the first three in the market, with Gauteng bookmaker Lance Michael having promoted Saturday’s facile winner Buffalo Bill Cody to favourite at 6-1, followed by stablemates Cascapedia and Noble Secret, both at 7-1.

Commenting on the stable’s website, Mathew de Kock said: "Buffalo Bill Cody is very smart. The Victory Moon Handicap and Summer Cup are options, as is the Queen’s Plate in January. But nothing is firm yet."

Buffalo Bill Cody was returning from a five-month break on Saturday and his record now reads four wins from five starts.

After finishing four lengths behind Coral Fever last Saturday, Noble Secret, who had been touted as the likely Cup winner by some pundits in recent weeks, has lost favour and drifted from 4-1 to 7-1.

Irish-bred mare Cascapedia strengthens De Kock’s hand even further – she is quoted the same price as Noble Secret — and the stable’s two other entries are Like A Panther (12-1) and Takingthepeace (14-1).

Most punters like an ante-post wager and it could pay to try putting doubles together with Like A Panther. He quickened up most impressively in his recent Vaal win and has very few miles on the clock.

Champion trainer Justin Snaith has supplemented Vodacom Durban July runner-up Made To Conquer, and Michael makes him a 13-1 chance in the latest market.

De Kock has six runners at Thursday’s meeting at the Vaal and they include three-year-old Naizak, who made a pleasing debut when finishing fourth at this track in October. He will be fancied to go close in the second race, although there are a number of well-bred newcomers, including Weichong Marwing’s mount Cizeron.

De Kock will hope Aussie import Mutrib can finish in the money in the sixth race, but this looks a competitive handicap in which strong chances can be given to Nuntius Oratorion and Sean Tarry’s Dynasty gelding Wonderous Climber.

Tarry could also go close in the fifth race, in which he saddles four-year-old Volcanic Sky. The merit rating of this son of Visionaire has dropped markedly and he can go close in the hands of S’manga Khumalo.

There are a host of dangers in this 1,500m contest, including Torio Lake, the mount of Gavin Lerena, Judd’s Rocket and Stuart Pettigrew’s Savannah King. The latter seems to reserve his best runs for the Vaal track.

Trainer Lucky Houdalakis scored with Mr Flood at the Vaal on Tuesday and a horse in the same ownership Pink rates the one to beat in the first leg of the Pick 6. The grey filly let her backers down in a recent Work Riders race but can recoup those losses with Lerena booked for the ride.

Tobie Spies has his team in good form and his filly Esemess has plenty of appeal, as does Little Sparrow.

Russian Prince was the subject of his hefty bets on his recent debut, but the bookies ended up with the cash with the son of Potala Palace beaten half a length by Desert Oasis. The colt runs again in Thursday’s 10th race, where his chief rival is likely to be another Pettigrew inmate Eureka Effect.