Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Paul Peter has hogged the racing headlines for the first two months of the new season, but Mike de Kock throws his hat into the ring by sending 13 horses to Turffontein on Saturday.

The star attraction of the De Kock team will be Equus award winner Desert Miracle, who is understandably a 1-3 chance to win the fifth race on the card. The Dynasty filly powered home by eight lengths to win the grade 2 Golden Slipper at Greyville on July day.

Desert Miracle is opposed by just six rivals on Saturday and one of them is stablemate Clafoutis, who was so impressive when posting her second win last weekend.

If she runs, Clafoutis can be given little chance of toppling her stablemate as her merit-rating is 22 points inferior. Yet, the way the daughter of Flower Alley is improving, she may get closer than many pundits expect.

Peter and Warren Kennedy team up with two-time winner Freedom Of Choice but a hat-trick success looks unlikely.

Perhaps a De Kock treble of Desert Miracle, Lilliana (sixth race) and Bold Act (ninth) could be worth taking.

Kennedy has given punters a tip in the sixth race by taking the ride on De Kock’s three-year-old filly Lilliana. He has won twice on this R320,000 daughter of Vercingetorix.

Kennedy has also won twice on You Deserve It and Clinton Binda is sure to have offered Kennedy the ride on the Pathfork filly. Though a year older, the filly faces a tough task giving 5kg to Lilliana.

De Kock has backup in this 1,800m race with Keepingthepeace and Fire Flower, the latter is a consistent mare and a third win cannot be far away.

In the final leg of the Pick Six, De Kock’s runner Bold Act has pole position which can help her beat the early favourite Val D’Orcia, an unbeaten member of the Peter team.

Bold Act’s run behind Rain In Holland has earned her a six points higher rating than Val D’Orcia, but this is a tasty end to the meeting with the year older Say When also in with a shout.

Another intriguing race is the second which features a fascinating clash between Smorgasbord (Peter), Forever Mine (De Kock) and Tuscan Winter (Johan Janse van Vuuren).

Smorgasbord receives 8kg from Forever Mine and a bigger threat could be Tuscan Winter who will appreciate the step up to 1,450m. Her dam won over 1,600m and this is the family of Capetown Noir and 11-time winner Across The Ice.

Candice Dawson and Alyson Wright must have been delighted with Matterhorn’s first run on the highveld and the Summer Cup entry steps out again in Saturday’s seventh race in which the gelding meets his conqueror Marchingontogether on 0.5kg worse terms.

Trainer St John Gray must be happy the former Gareth van Zyl inmate only got a three-point penalty from the handicapper and it means the six-year-old shoulders just 52kg. With that light weight a follow-up looks a distinct possibility though Golden Pheasant and Astrix will both have their supporters.

There are four first-timers in the third race but the blinkers go on Robbie Sage’s runner Coral Dawn and this filly should be sufficient for punters to proceed to the next leg of the place accumulator.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (4) Magic To The Fore (2) Chutzpah (8) Pinky Levine (9) Shezafox

2nd Race: (6) Smorgasbord (3) Tuscan Winter (1) Forever Mine (2) Sparkling Water

3rd Race: (1) Coral Dawn (8) Queen Theodora (2) Golden Aspen (9) Ubiquitas

4th Race: (9) Scottadito (6) Indus Knight (8) Wokonda (1) Coming In Hot

5th Race: (4) Desert Miracle (5) Clafoutis (6) Freedom Of Choice (1) Golden Spoon

6th Race: (9) Lilliana (5) Fire Flower (3) You Deserve It (1) Ancestral Prayer

7th Race: (8) Marchingontogether (6) Matterhorn (3) Golden Pheasant (2) Astrix

8th Race: (2) Love Lies (1) About To Storm (4) Space Race (3) Flower Of Scotland

9th Race: (4) Bold Act (5) Val D’Orcia (6) Say When (3) Rock Of Africa

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