MIKE de Kock sent out a SA record 118th Gr1 winner when his three-year-old Soqrat powered to victory under Randall Simons in Saturday’s Gr1 Cape Guineas at Kenilworth.
In securing his fifth Guineas, De Kock surpassed the tally of 117 Gr1 winners held by the legendary Terrance Millard since his retirement in 1991, a time at which, incidentally, De Kock had only a single Gr1 winner to his name.
“I clean forgot about that,” said De Kock after the race. “It is not something I could have imagined and now here it is. Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Terrance Millard is good enough for me. What I remember from those days is that we were absolutely in awe of him.”
De Kock said that he and son Mathew, who put the final touches On Soqrat this week and took care of the saddling, were quite confident before the race. “On juvenile form I thought Soqrat was close to One World on form, if not better, and when I saw our horse canter down to the start I knew he’d go close. Thanks to Mathew and the team for bringing him to the track spot-on, I am very happy!”
Mathew added: “Soqrat is a natural athlete. We had the hiccup with his travelling down, but he recovered, got better every day. He knew what to do. Even with Hawwaam not here I knew that in Soqrat we still had enough power to play a role. I sighed when he found the rail, but with about 600m to go he was full of running.”
Mathew said that Soqrat would probably stay in Cape Town for a tilt at the Gr1 Queen’s Plate, which already promises to be the most powerful renewal in years, but that they would see how the colt comes out of the Guineas before making a decision.
Soqrat is the flagbearer for Darley’s Commands Stallion Epaulette (AUS), who tops the list for the most Group winners by an Australian first-season sire. Soqrat’s dam, Elzeeza (Hussonet) won twice up to 1200m.
Bred by Shadwell Stud for Sheik Hamdan of Dubai, Soqrat was raised by Arthur and Harry Mitchell of Yarraman Stud before being imported to South Africa.
Soqrat now has four wins from six starts to his credit, including two Gr1’s. He’s earned R1,385-million.
Headline photo: Soqrat wins the Gr1 Cape Guineas from Twist Of Fate (Wayne Marks).