BOOKIES fear a Mike de Kock double next Saturday and have priced up runners from his stable as favourites for both Grade 2 races on the Turffontein card.
In the R1m Gauteng Guineas — the first leg of the Sascoc Triple Crown — De Kock’s three-year-old, Alexandra Palace, tops the betting boards at 7-2.
That’s a far bigger price than is on offer for the champion trainer’s British-bred filly Espumanti in the R500,000 Gauteng Fillies Guineas. Her opening price on Monday was 8-10.
The Gauteng Guineas looks more competitive than in recent years and recent Vaal winner Francois Bernardus is quoted 4-1 second favourite with KwaZulu-Natal raider Love Struck.
Winner of the Politician Stakes in the Cape, Love Struck is trained by Paul Lafferty and will have champion jockey Anton Marcus in the saddle. He has drawn well, which is an advantage over the Turffontein 1,600m.
Five-times champion trainer Geoff Woodruff has three runners in the race and the pick of his trio could be Robbie Fradd’s mount, Tellina. His other two runners, Sabadell and Killua Castle, have disappointed since running well in the Dingaans late last year.
Despite a shocking draw, trainer Corne Spies is confident of a good showing from War House, who is priced at 14-1 with Swift and Strong and Fantastic Mr Fox.
Espumanti bids to keep her unbeaten record in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas. The race forms the first leg of the Triple Tiara, which is now sponsored by Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud.
Bookmakers quote Cherry On The Top as the second favourite for the race at 6-1 with Fire Wheel (7-1) and King’s Temptress (8-1) the only other runners in single figures.
Although the draw has been kind to Espumanti, which will please jockey Anthony Delpech, Cherry On The Top has a wide gate to overcome.
The Grade 2 Hawaii Stakes will also be run on Saturday, with the field for this 1,400m event being announced on Tuesday. The nominations included three horses trained in the Cape — Captain’s Secret, Castlethorpe and Changingoftheguard.
The De Kock stable will have five runners at Tuesday night’s meeting at Turffontein and the pick of their quintet should be the grey filly Ilha Bela. Last season’s SA Oaks heroine notched her fifth career win at Turffontein in December and will have Robbie Fradd in the irons for the first time this evening.
The one runner who could spoil the party for Fradd is the fast-improving Straw Market.
Jockey Brandon Lerena makes the journey from Durban to partner Shogunnar, a four-year-old who is overdue for a second visit to the No1 box.
Straw Market’s stablemate, Irish Gift, is also battling for another win and has been placed in each of his last five races. The five-year-old has drawn well and could get it right this time at the expense of another De Kock inmate, End Result.
Trainer Paul Peter holds a strong hand in the first leg of the jackpot, with both Palace Town and Tobit boasting wins in their most recent outings. It might pay to take a chance on the latter.