Soqrat and Marcus may upset the favourites in Champions Cup
Similar to John Gosden's view about Enable, trainer Mike de Kock says his progressive four-year-old Buffalo Bill Cody is taking on a “power field” in Saturday’s WSB Champions Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Bookmakers have “Buffalo” as favourite at 15-10 with Vodacom July runner-up Rainbow Bridge edging out a little to 19-10.
Interviewed by Turftalk, De Kock said: “This is a big step up for Buffalo Bill Cody and we’re confident he’ll run a big race. But he’s in a power field, it won’t be easy."
He added that he had also been incorrectly quoted in saying that “Buffalo” was better than his talented three-year-old Hawwaam. “That has not been proven yet.”
It is musical chairs as far as the jockeys are concerned in this grade 1 race with Gavin Lerena, who rode Rainbow Bridge in the July switching to Buffalo Bill, Richard Fourie riding Rainbow Bridge for the first time and Anton Marcus booked for De Kock’s other runner Soqrat.
The worry about Rainbow Bridge is that trainer Eric Sands will have had his charge at his peak for the July. That race was only three weeks ago, so will the four-year-old still be at the top of his game?
In the circumstances, it might pay to have an each-way bet on 7-1 chance Soqrat. Whether the Aussie import will stay on his first try at 1,800m — his dam won twice over 1,200m — remains to be seen, but the colt has won over 1,600m at Turffontein which is a tougher track than Greyville.
Brett Crawford has an excellent record in this race and his runner Undercover Agent is not without a chance of ending his career on a high note. He has been a moneyspinner for his connections — he cost R325,000 as a yearling and has earned over R5m in stakes.
Cirillo has been another shrewd buy by Sean Tarry and his leading patron Chris van Niekerk, but the son of Pomodoro finished three lengths behind Soqrat in the Cape Guineas.
Twist Of Fate and Eyes Wide Open ran well in the July, finishing less than two lengths behind Do It Again, but similar to Rainbow Bridge, will they be able to produce their best form just three weeks later?
Candice Dawson runs her recent course winner Infamous Fox and the grey could earn a cheque as there is prize-money down to fifth place.
The race is a tough call for tipsters, yet — hoping that he stays the distance — it could pay to rove Soqrat in the trifecta with Buffalo Bill Cody, Rainbow Bridge, Undercover Agent, Eyes Wide Open and Twist Of Fate. This bet will cost R60.
The eLan Gold Cup has the biggest purse on the 12-race card and this popular marathon event is dominated by the Snaith stable with Strathdon, Made To Conquer and Doublemint giving the powerful yard a strong hand.
Nevertheless, the top choice is Geoff Woodruff’s runnner Sunshine Silk who was noted making significant late progress when finishing fifth behind Walter Smoothie in the 3,000m Gold Vase on July day.
Strathdon, third in the Gold Vase, shares favouritism with Sunshine Silk, but he is proving expensive to follow and not one to risk the rent on.
Whatever his fate on Soqrat, expect Marcus to go close on True To Life in the fifth race, the Thekwini Stakes. It is possible the filly was in need of the run in the Golden Slipper and she can beat the 18-10 favourite, Gabor.
Following his impressive finishing burst in the Golden Horseshoe, unbeaten Eden Roc will be regarded as the day’s banker bet when he takes on 13 rivals in the grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes.
1st Race: (1) Alibi Guy (6) Atomic Blonde (3) Deer Park (5) Shango
2nd Race: (9) Mr Greenlight (8) Holy Land (7) Cat Daddy (2) Kapen Pride
3rd Race: (4) Maidens Prayer (6) Montreal Mist (10) Scarlet Tiger (2) Hey Delilah
4th Race: (14) Spring Break (5) De La Cruz (12) Sarah (3) Alramz
5th Race: (12) True To Life (4) Gabor (3) Cockney Pride (7) Kayla’s Champ
6th Race: (2) Eden Roc (11) Putontheredlight (14) Wave (6) Kaydens Pride
7th Race: (10) Sunshine Silk (6) Strathdon (3) Made To Conquer (11) Gimme One Night
8th Race: (1) Kasimir (13) Celtic Sea (8) Van Halen (12) La Bella Mia
9th Race: (9) Soqrat (3) Buffalo Bill Cody (1) Rainbow Bridge (2) Undercover Agent
10th Race: (1) Camphoratus (5) Lady In Black (3) Miyabi Gold (4) Sabina's Dynasty
11th Race: (12) Mastagambit (7) Silver Maple (8) Silva's Bullet (3) Social Order
12th Race: (11) Singfonico (1) Attenborough (7) Dalai's Promise (4) Basilius