Sheiks could battle it out for victory in Victory Moon

De Kock is quite confident his charge will see out 1800m and the one run Soqrat had over this distance backs him up.

There is no substitute for class and that is something Soqrat is likely to prove when he lines up in the Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m at the Vaal tomorrow.

This is one of those very rare occasions when weekend racing takes place at the Free State course but wherever they run this race, Mike de Kock’s charge should be too good for this field.

De Kock is quite confident his charge will see out 1800m and the one run Soqrat had over this distance backs him up. That race was on 27 July in Durban when he contested the Grade 1 Champion Mile at Greyville.

This Australian-bred son of Epaulette took the lead at the top of the 400m straight and led until the final couple of strides where he was caught by Rainbow Bridge, probably the second-best horse in the country behind Do It Again.

The race was run at weight-for-age terms and to go down just 0.40 lengths to the Sun Met winner was no dis- grace.

There is nothing of Rainbow Bridge’s calibre in this race, and despite the fact this is a stakes race with penalties and he will be conceding weight to all horses, he is still one of the best-handicapped runners in the field.

The only runner better weighted than Soqrat is Seville Orange but her merit rating has been based solely on races against her own sex.

Soqrat does like to race up with the pace but Callan Mur- ray, who had a winning debut ride on the four-year-old last month, would probably prefer to settle him this time.

He does have 62kg on his back but that is exactly what he carried in a Pinnacle Stakes last time over 1600m and he had that race won a long way from home.

He is nicely drawn at No 3 so Murray will have no problem getting him placed. De Kock has said that if he is happy with the run, Soqrat will be going into the Grade 1 Summer Cup on 30 November.

Soqrat is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum and it could be a case of fighting the race out with another of his family as Al Mutawakel, who looks the main danger is owned by his cousin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum through his South African based Al Adiyaat company.

This four-year-old son of Silvano is a full brother to Grade 1 SA Derby winner Al Sahem. He won his first three starts easily but ran on too late last time and finished fourth, just 1.80 lengths behind Seattle Force.

He will much prefer the longer run-in at the Vaal and should be in the top three places.

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