WILLIAM “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846 -1917) was a bison hunter and showman from Kansas who performed stage shows with cowboy themes. His equine namesake, an import by Redoute’s Choice, has won his races like a true showman, and with his extravagant performances has built up an enthusiastic following among racing fans.
Following his 3.25-length slamming of top-level campaigner Cirillo in a comeback run over 1600m at Turffontein on 7 July, bookmakers slashed Buffalo Bill Cody’s odds for Saturday’s Gr1 Champions Cup over 1800m at Greyville from 3-1 to 2-1.
Betting World cut the colt’s odds to 16-10 joint favourite with the battleship Rainbow Bridge, and considering the other super runners in the field – Soqrat, Undercover Agent, Twist Of Fate et al, this is an indication of public confidence.
Racing fans have enjoyed a superbly exciting season with terrific runners and the crowning of a superstar in Do It Again. They’d love to see out the term on a high note with the welcoming of a new star on the block.
Mathew de Kock said from Randjesfontein this morning: “Buffalo Bill Cody is flying. He’s completed his work, he will have a light stretch tomorrow and he leaves for Durban on Friday.”
Mike de Kock, who has been overseeing Soqrat’s work at Summerveld, commented: “This will be Buffalo Bill Cody’s acid test. I was incorrectly quoted that he is better than Hawwaam, that has not been proven yet. Hawwaam and Soqrat have already proven how good they are, but Buffalo Bill still has to do it in the big league. We’re throwing him in the deep end. He’s earned his merit rating in handicaps, this is a big step up and we’re confident he’ll run a good race, but he’s in a power field, it won’t be easy.”
Collateral lines of form through Cirillo puts Buffalo Bill Cody right on top of all his rivals, and although there is a feeling that Cirillo was below his best last time, Buffalo Bill is still a big factor on form alone, even if one were to cut the 3.25 length win to a length, in theory. In reality, the way he won suggested the winning distance could have been five lengths or more.
De Kock said: “The win over Cirillo after a rest was exceptionally good, Buffalo Bill was really impressive. He’s had a proper prep for the first time in his career, he had niggles before so we’ve always had breaks in his preparation. But this time things look good. What could be a concern is that Saturday is his second run back, but that only the race will show. Win or lose, I know what we have in this horse, whatever happens we haven’t got to the bottom of him yet and if he continues on his path of uninterrupted preparation we’ll see a serious horse next season.”
He said about Soqrat: “He’s had a few rides that were below par in my opinion. He’s a top horse, has enjoyed a good prep too and who knows, if he sees out the 1800m he can go close. It’s a really good race though, he looks in good form but he’s had a long season. He faces quality runners and there are no pushovers here.”
De Kock also fields two-year-od Frosted Gold against his elders in Saturday’s Gr1 Mercury Sprint over 1200m, something we haven’t seen a lot in this country. He said: “The Mercury is a strong race, but it is contested on weight-for-age terms. In Australia they race their twoyear-olds at this level all the time. Frosted Gold is a decent galloper, he has the mettle and we’re willing to give this race a full go.”