BACK in 2002, when Highland Night beat Mike de Kock’s Badger’s Coast a short-head in the then Gr 1 Gold Cup at Greyville, De Kock was thinking that SA’s top race for stayers carried a bit of a voodoo – at the time it was the only major race in South Africa that had eluded him.
SA’s eight-time Champion Trainer went on to take the Gold Cup three times since with Thundering Star (2007), Ancestral Fore (2010) and Wild One (2015), and secured a fourth success in this year’s renewal when four-year-old import Enaad (AUS, S’Manga Khumalo), finished best of all to win, going off 5-1 favourite in an open race.
The race, sponsored by eLan Property, played out in almost the same manner as the recent Gold Vase, in which two De Kock runners Kingston Mines and Smart Mart went out setting the pace, a third runner Enaad came flashing up late to win and Kinaan too, came from the clouds to finish fourth.
While Kingston Mines and Smart Mart are likely to have found the track condition too soft this time, at the business end of the marathon Enaad once again came storming up under his handy 53kg to win going away from Helderberg Blue. The under-rated Kinaan, also nicely weighted at 53kg, stayed on strongly for third.
Khumalo said that the Gold Cup was a race he’d badly wanted to win, and SA’s newly crowned Champion Jockey thanked the De Kock team for a very fit horse. “Mr De Kock gave me no pressure, asked that I give Enaad a chance and let him go at the end. When I pulled him out (from the back) he was full of running, they’d gone fast and when I asked him all came together. I am very thankful!”
De Kock, too, was full of praise for his KZN team of John Buckler and Natie Kotzen and said: “Enaad is a beautifully bred horse by High Chaparral, his brother was very expensive and stands at stud in Australia. He had to do well in the Gold Vase to get in, he’s probably still a few pounds in hand in handicaps and still improving, the same for Kinaan. Well done to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum for breeding him. This was our second Gold Cup win with a three-year-old for Sheikh Mohammed.”
Photo: Candiese Marnewick.