Soqrat and Barahin are favourite and second favourite respectively for a Pinnacle Stakes contest at Turffontein on Saturday.
They are two of trainer Mike de Kock’s phalanx of “big guns” for upcoming feature races in Joburg and Cape Town.
Australian import Soqrat is a superb racehorse and bookmakers are taking no chances with him, pricing up at 12-10 even though the four-year-old hasn’t run in 77 days and has a problematic draw for the 1600m event.
Already a three-time Grade 1 victor – from just 12 starts – Soqrat has top young rider Callan Murray to help him overcome possible ring-rust and the No 11 stall.
The colt was in cracking form in the early part of this year, giving cheek to the very best in the country. In his last outing, in the Champions’ Cup at Greyville, from a wide draw, he narrowly went down to the estimable Rainbow Bridge.
The main competition comes in the same Sheikh Hamdan silks, carried by Barahin. This four-year-old son of Gimmethegreenlight has not seen a racecourse in 98 days, so also has a niggly fitness question to answer.
The fact that two other De Kock stars, Buffalo Bill Cody and Cascapedia, misfired on the seasonal debuts last week might give some punters pause.
And it is true that De Kock is unlikely to have either of these colts 100% sharp right now, as he needs something to work with over the coming months. However, both are so classy it is hard to wager against them.
Barahin sports blinkers for the first time, which could be a game-changer. In the Vodacom Durban July, he started poorly and finished like a rocket, crossing the Greyville wire just five lengths adrift of winner Do It Again.
He was partnered by Muzi Yeni that day, who retains the ride.
De Kock has two further runners in the 11-horse field – Like A Panther and Noble Secret – but both are returning from long layoffs and look unlikely to beat their stablemates.
Trainer Sean Tarry has been in top form in recent weeks and fields two hardy campaigners in Wonderwall and Social Order.
Either of them could cause an upset if De Kock’s top pair run out of puff towards the end.
9-1 Roy Had Enough, Unagi
10-1 Lake Kinneret
20-1 and upwards the others.
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