WE joked about the significance of dates and words last week but on this Friday, 16 January, we’ve got a truly significant occasion to report on.
Our headline photo shows three-year-old filly To You coasting to her first victory on sand at The Vaal on Thursday – one of four winners for Mathew de Kock and the team – and rounding off a big five in all on the day with Mubtaahij slamming his opposition in Dubai.
To You… To You… and Especially to You!
The Big Five points to Friday’s Big Five-O for none other than Diane de Kock, so here’s love and best wishes TO YOU Di from your many friends and supporters in racing!
Di won’t be sleeping in. There’s a whole string of young horses waiting to stick their wet noses in her neck this morning – Di and her team prepare the stable’s two-year-olds for entry into the main racing yard and Mike has noted many times that this is the backbone of his highly successful operation.
Di’s the one who takes responsibility first for an annual group of new arrivals jointly worth a figure that won’t pale against Nkandla Estate, and she has to ensure that these youngsters strengthen up and know their manners when they go to the track. She’s the woman behind the good horses and the good men and the one who has steadied the ship for so many years.
Mike will be boarding a plane from Dubai International today to be there in person for Wife and Mom when she celebrates the Big Five-O this weekend. Di has been worried that she won’t be able to party at 50 like she did at 20, but chances are she’ll be giving it a good try nonetheless!
Olympic Bolt, another honest win.
Di would love to think that Mathew is her Mommy’s Boy at heart – it has been revealed that he may have a secret appreciation for ballet after all – but he’s learned the ropes from the Old Man saddling an amazing 11 winners from 17 runners since last Tuesday! Add to that a winner for the KZN team and the figures show 12/24 – 50 percent winners to runners including Diane’s Silent Force at the Vaal last week.
“If I’d taken any of yesterday’s four runners to the races individually I would have been confident of a win, to have them all win on one day is rare and special,” commented Mat on Thursday.
Brazilian-bred To You won by 4.25-lengths in the hands of Akash Aucharuz, owned by Mary Slack in partnership with and a first winner in the stable for Lord and Lady Harrington.
Olympic Bolt (Gavin Lerena) was next, posting his second win over 1800m on the track that doesn’t actually save racing when it rains – and the third of his career. He’s a son of Asiatic Boy, who was also owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, who will be hoping he has another sand star on his hands in Thursday’s Meydan winner Mubtaahij.
“Olympic Bolt is more honest and genuine since he was gelded and he can win again,” said Mathew.
Mootahadee looks best over 1200m.
Australia’s Redoute’s Choice continues to remind racegoers and breeders who market Mickey-Mouse sires, of the attributes of a real stallion – Mootahadee kept his South African tally ticking with a deserved win over 1200m, handled by the evergreen Johnny Geroudis.
“We figured Mootahadee out, the 1400m seems too far and 1000m seems too short so this 1200m is perfect,” Mathew said.
Arguably most impressive of the four winners was Smart Mart, a three-year-old gelding by Mambo In Seattle owned by Ferdi and Liz Ladeira, Chris Gerber, Gerald Sadleir and Dr Manfred Rohwer. Smart Mart raced over 1600m and was fancied for a big run, but he turned for home wide and so far back it looked like the stable’s marvelous day would end on a disappointing note.
But there would be no worries, however. With Johnny G still taking in the scenery, Smart Mart took off like a rocket. The Tellytrack screen looked awkwardly divided without actually being divided as this one came storming up the outside – Smart Mart appeared to be a race of his own in the bottom half and going at about five times the speed of his rivals choking for breath on the top half. SM – Winner by Illusion?
“I was a bit worried when Smart Mart turned so wide, I think Johnny forgot there was a corner in this race, but all’s well that ends well. I can’t recall when last I saw a horse win so well over this course and distance after turning so far off the pace,” Mathew said about this 3, 75-length winner who looks destined to work his way through the ranks.
(Photos by JC Photographics).