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Picture: Litigation wins the Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes (JC Photos). 


Mike de Kock said before Sunday’s Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m he did not care what pace the race was going to be run at as it was just going to be a stepping stone race for Hollywoobets Durban July winner Sparkling Water and others into the Grade 1 Gauteng Summer Cup.

Therefore, Sparkling Water, considering she was a run short of her peak, ran a fine one length third and it has seen her shorten into 28/10 for the Summer Cup behind her 5/2 favourite stablemate Safe Passage.

De Kock’s three-year-old The United States colt East Coast ran a fine second and put his hand up as a classic contender. 

The early stages panned out well for Sparkling Water yesterday. After going up from her wide draw of 14, Perfect Witness moved inward to take a rails spot inside of her. This allowed Sparkling Water to move into a handy position with cover behind Litigation, who sat on the flank of the pacemaker Zillzaal.

Sparkling Water looked threatening all the way up the straight and was only a length behind at the line. 

The 2kg Grade 1 penalty she was carrying was cancelled out by the 2,5kg female allowance she received.

De Kock said during the preview that when you had a good three-year-old Silvano you become excited because Silvano’s would  continue to improve as four, five and even as six-year-olds.

Sparkling Water is thus going to have a massive chance of landing De Kock an elusive tenth Summer Cup. His previous win of Johnanesburg’s biggest race was with Silvano filly Flirtation back in 2010.

Litigation, ridden by Philisande Mxoli, stayed on extremely well to win yesterday’s Victory Moon, considering he had no cover throughout.

The win should have booked him a place in the Summer Cup. 

He copped the maximum penalty allowed for a winner of this race of six points, which takes him up to a 107. That will mean he will run in the Summer Cup 3kg under sufferance, presuming the top rated horse, William Robertson, takes his place. 

Interestingly, Tarry won the Summer Cup last year with a horse who was officially 4kg under sufferance, i.e. Flying Carpet.

However, a closer look at the latter’s three-year-old form gave him a definite shout at the weights.

There is no such form that can be found for Litigation, but the four-year-old gelding by Greys Inn was always thought to be one who would come into his own as he got older.

However, a possibly more eyecatching Summer Cup preparation run was put in by Litigation’s stablemate Nebraas, who was flying at the finish for a 2,50 length fifth.

He looks to have had the perfect Summer Cup preparation.

William Robertson also stayed on quite well for a 2,40 length fourth. Trainer Corne’ Spies might have gained some confidence about the Rafeef gelding’s capacity to stay the 2000m of the Summer Cup.