Panther looks to be the value bet of De Kock’s Summer Cup quintet
With It’s My Turn out of the race, trainer Mike de Kock’s army will descend on Turffontein on Saturday for the R2m G-Bets Summer Cup with the same superiority as Russia taking
De Kock, who has won the race nine times, will saddle Cascapedia, Noble Secret, Takingthepeace, Like A Panther and Kilrain. Of this quintet, only Kilrain looks an unlikely winner.
Cascapedia, the mount of Gavin Lerena, appears to have had the perfect preparation with two starts this term and the Irish-bred mare has a favourable draw.
Jockey Randall Simons has built a good relationship with Noble Secret but the four-year-old is drawn wide. Takingthepeace’s six wins have raked in more than R1.7m. Warren Kennedy partners the Visionaire filly for the second time.
De Kock’s four-year-old Like A Panther represents the best each-way value in the race. Its jockey, Craig Zackey, said, "I had a shocking draw last time and feel I can turn the tables on Takingthepeace in the Cup."
Although Like A Panther again has a wide draw to overcome, this R2.2m yearling will be 4.5kg better off than Takingthepeace on Saturday.
So who can prevent a win for the powerful De Kock stable? Probably only four of his rivals, including top-weight Coral Fever, Piere Strydom’s mount Sabina’s Dynasty and the Sean Tarry inmate Tilbury Fort.
It has been a big year for trainer Robbie Sage and jockey Muzi Yeni, and Coral Fever is the biggest earner in the field with seven wins bringing in more than R4.2m for owners Colin Bird and Sylvia Vrska.
Many pundits believe this is far from the strongest field assembled for this grade 1 race so, despite the steadier of 60kg, Coral Fever has a real chance of taking the R1.2m cheque.
Geoff Woodruff has a fine record in this race and his filly Secret Potion put her hat in the ring with her recent victory over Cascapedia. However, she did not shape in the Durban July and looks to have more of a place chance than a winning one.
Of the several supporting races on the 12-race card, the WSB Ipi Tombe Challenge may provide the best bet of the day in Aussie import Nafaayes. This R3.5m buy has looked smart in her four starts and while this is her first try at 1,600m her dam did win over this distance. In a race run in honour of a star performer who won 12 races, including the 2002 Durban July, the opposition to Nafaayes is formidable and includes Redberry Lane, Al Danza, stablemate Dagmar and KwaZulu-Natal raider Fiorella.
Another runner who could defy top weight is Pinnacle Peak in the Merchants (grade 2) over 1,160m. The four-year-old is set to carry 60kg.
Clever Guy makes much appeal, while chances can also be given to Captain And Master, Rivarine, Procal Harum and Rose In Bloom.