Anthony Delpech celebrates with his horse Igugu after winning the J&B Met in this October 2012 file photo. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER
Anthony Delpech celebrates with his horse Igugu after winning the J&B Met in this October 2012 file photo. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER

Following the retirement of Anthony Delpech, trainer Mike de Kock has praised the important role the jockey has played for the stable over a number of years.

Commenting on his website, De Kock said: “Anthony and I had much success together. He won three Julys, a Met and a Triple Crown for me and many other grade 1 races.

“When Anthony was injured and not riding for the stable it was a big loss for us. As so often happens in life, one realises the value of individuals and their expertise when you lose them. His big race experience and professionalism is being missed by MD Kock Racing and I’m sure also by Mary Slack who had built up a good relationship with him before his injury.

“Many of us forget that being a jockey is a dangerous profession. As we’ve seen with Anthony - and other jockeys injured in recent times - they are always just one fall from retirement. They’re always on the edge of danger,” he said.

Delpech, who won the Durban July four times, turns 50 on Sunday and  is sad to announce his retirement as he reaches this milestone.

He said: “My doctor has recommended that I never get on horseback again. He said the burn in my leg is caused by pressure on the spine which will only get worse. It will be aggravated and potentially result in permanent damage if I push it and force myself to return to the jockeys ranks.”

The De Kock stable will use three different jockeys — Gavin Lerena, Diego De Gouveia and Craig Zackey — for its  three runners at the Vaal on Thursday.

Of this trio, it will be interesting to see if there is market for newcomer Frosted Gold in the second race. This youngster is a New Zealand-bred colt and would not have to be anything special to open his account at the first time of asking.

Another first-timer worth monitoring in the betting is Got The Greenlight trained by Joe Soma. This colt out of an Australian mare will be ridden by S’manga Khumalo.

Trainer Alec Laird sends four runners to the Free State track and has a chance of saddling three winners — Lady Lexington (fourth race), Danza (sixth) and Fire And Rescue in the final leg of the Pick 6.

Lady Lexington, a daughter of Twice Over, followed up a pleasing debut with a facile maiden win at Thursday’s track in January  and looks on the upgrade. The three-year-old may have most to fear from Paul Peter’s consistent filly, Ouro.

Danza faces some tough rivals in the sixth race, but the six year-old has more than paid his way this term with two wins and two seconds in his past four outings. It might, however, be a tough ask in conceding 3kg to Sean Tarry’s runner, Purple Diamond.

Another horse of interest is the veteran Talktothestars with the seven-year-old finishing third behind the talented Pinnacle Peak last time out. It appears jockey Chase Maujean has chosen Coenie De Beer’s gelding rather than Life Is Good.

Fire And Rescue has shown ability in his three starts and Alec Laird will be expecting a big run from the Crusade colt in the ninth race. He is not alone as this writer owns a leg in the four year-old.


1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (5) Frosted Gold (6) Got The Greenlight (8) Sullenberger (1) Axios

3rd Race: (2) Summer House (1) Epic Dream (15) Josi Di Nero (3)Takatul

4th Race: (7) Lady Lexington (2) Ouro (1) Dancing Queen (3) Heaven's Reward

5th Race: (8) Battle Creek (6) Certifiable (4) Generous Notion (1) Basilius

6th Race: (8) Purple Diamond (3) Danza (5) Talktothestars (7) Life Is Good

7th Race: (1) Dewali (7) Summer Afternoon (2) Topmast (3) Mojito Magic

8th Race: (4) Believe Me (2) Abelie (10) Serenpidity (5) Quebec Queen

9th Race: (3) Fire And Rescue (13) Humour Me (1) Maroon Bells (4) Paused