MIKE de Kock has any number of decent horses in his yard, at any given time, but it won’t be out of place to name Hawwaam, Soqrat, Barahin and Buffalo Bill Cody his “current Big Four”. They’re a quartet of runners that, incidentally, occupy the first four spots on the 2019 Summer Cup log.

Mathew de Kock spoke on Thursday about the stable’s top older individuals, and whilst doing so pointed out that nothing is cast in stone, individual plans can change as the days go by. “It’s not about pushing buttons, we’re dealing with thoroughbreds, flesh and blood.”

Hawwaam has been rested since his much-discussed mishap at the start of the Durban July – he backed out in the final seconds before the white flag went up, bumped himself and became a well-backed, wellscratched favourite on the day.

Mathew said: “Hawwaam is in full training and doing well, we’ve done a lot of work with him at the pens and his confidence is up, things have been fine. We’ll be hoping this confidence can carry over to the actual
track so we can have an uneventful start next time.

“Our plan for Hawwaam is the Summer Cup, and if we do decide to go there, his prep run will be the Victory Moon Stakes. If we decide it’s a tough ask at the weights, we’ll save him for the Sun Met.”

Next up is Soqrat and Mathew commented: “He is also in good nick and we’ll be stepping him out in a Pinnacle Plate over 1600m in due course. We’re considering the Green Point Stakes for him, with a view to another tilt at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.” (Soqrat was beaten under half a length by Do It Again the 2019 renewal of the race in January).

Barahin was a quiet fancy for many to show his worth in the Durban July, but he got going very late at the sharp Greyville circuit. The Summer Cup over the tough Turffontein 2000m seems a hand-inglove fit. “He’s a handicapper, we’ll be trying him with blinkers this season and he’ll be going along a suitable preparatory route for the Cup.”

Buffalo Bill Cody, who ran a creditable fifth to Rainbow Bridge in the country’s best company when tried in the Champions Cup despite being green and battling to find his rhythm, returns to the track in the Gr2 Joburg Spring Challenge over 1450m at Turffontein’s inside this Saturday.

“He is doing well, he runs well fresh and we’ll be looking for a good run from him,” said Mathew.

Buffalo Bill Cody’s first feature aim this season is the Gr2 Charity Mile.

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