MIKE de Kock saddles two runners in Sunday’s Grade 1 Premiers Champions Stakes over 1600m for two-year-olds – Misty Birnam (Callan Murray) and Qeyaadah (Weichong Marwing).

He said: “I think Misty Birnam should run very well. He stayed on well last time over 1400m so I’m sure he will get the mile. He’s a nice, sound, solid sort but it will be hard to turn the tables on Zodiac Ruler. If (Justin) Snaith’s horse fluffs his lines, we have a great chance.

The Zodiac Ruler form brings Qeyaadah into the race with a chance and De Kock said: “I thought Qeyaadah won one of the strongest Maiden Juvenile Plates of the season. He beat Dean Kannemeyer’s Mr O’Neill by 2.75-lengths on 13 July after Mr O’Neill ran Zodiac Ruler to half a length over the same course and distance just a month prior to that.

“We decided to supplement Qeyaadah into this race because other than Zodiac Ruler it is not a strong field. On a line through Mr O’Neill and Zodiac Ruler form he is definitely not a 20-1 chance, that I can tell you.  I’m expecting improvement, conceivably he should run very well. He is a one-eyed horse so that does put him at a bit of a disadvantage, if it wasn’t for that I’d fancy him as a horse with feature potential.”

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