He has been nicknamed “the QE ll” at home. Why? Because he is slow – like a Big Boat.
His real name is Albacore. He is an Irish-bred son of Fastnet Rock and he is trained by Mike de Kock.
On his website, mikedekockracing.com, the trainer explained that owner Michael Javett was looking for a two-year-old to compete in the UK’s juvenile features. At the Tattersalls Sale they found Albacore and Mary Slack joined Javett as his partner in the horse.
However, when the horse went into training in the UK it soon became apparent he would not be able to run as a two-year-old so they decided to bring him to South Africa.
To cut a long story short, De Kock soon discovered that this was the slowest horse on four legs. “Slow is not the word! Albacore couldn’t keep up with horses going in a common canter. He is one of the slowest horses ever to be booked into our stable complex,” said De Kock.
They considered sending him to a riding school but the stable has a policy of giving every horse one run. They put him in a race with Viburnum and when he dropped out to last it came as no surprise. But he suddenly started making up ground and flew up to run third, beaten just one length by his stablemate. “I almost fell of my chair at home watching the race in sheer surprise,” said De Kock.
At the stables it was back to normal. The QE II continued to crawl. So they ran him again in a Maiden Plate under lights at Turffontein, drawn No 12 of 12 on the bend. To everyone’s surprise he stormed home to beat Mr Cuddles by four lengths.
A winner has already come from that form line so when Albacore takes a step up in class at the Vaal tomorrow, he could prove rather than being a slow boat, he is actually a sleek jet. He runs in Race 6, a MR 88 Handicap over 2000m, and despite being 1 kg under sufferance, is good enough to take on stronger opposition. He carries just 52kg and has Ryan Munger back aboard.
The main danger looks to be The Rising Legend from the Geoff Woodruff yard. He has only raced three times, finishing second to eventual SA Classic champion Lobo’s Legend, and then winning his next two starts. He just does enough to win his races but there looks to be loads of improvement to come from him. Marco van Rensburg takes the ride.