The SA Derby (Gr1); the SA Oaks (Gr2) and the Horse Chestnut Stakes (Gr1) are scheduled to be run at Turffontein on Saturday 2 May and in anticipation of the big day, the Gold Circle team reached out to some of the Highveld trainers.

The Grade 1 winners Hawwaam, Soqrat and Queen Supreme are all fit, doing very well and raring to go. The trio will line-up in the Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m but 11 days out Mike was hesitant to venture a preference at this stage.

“They are all in a good space and each will be competitive, but there’s a way to go yet,” added Mike.

Following the Horse Chestnut Stakes, Hawwaam and Sograt will head for the President’s Champions Challenge over 2000m on 30 May while Queen Supreme’s mission will be the 1600m Empress Club Stakes on the same day.

When asked about Barahin, Mike replied “He is only in light work having been injured and gelded. We should see him later in the Season.”

The undefeated 2yo Alibi Guy has not been seen as a 3yo but is taking aim at the Derby. “He was sidelined with an injury so we took the opportunity to geld him. Clearly winning a stamina sapping race like the Derby first up after a lengthy absence from racing action is a real challenge but he has the class and has been in full work for quite a while now.”

Alibi Guy was last seen on Gold Cup day in July 2019 when winning a Juvenile Plate over 1900m, beating subsequent Dingaans winner Shango and these two are likely to renew rivalry in the Derby.

Alibi Guy is from the first SA crop of Flower Alley who sired the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner, I’ll Have Another.

Mike is thin on the ground when it comes to the Oaks. Unfortunately Oaks Trial winner Fayrooz is out with an injury and the De Kock hopes rest with Pomander. She ran last in the Oaks Trial but was found to be coughing badly after the race and the run is best ignored. “She is much better than that and is a true stayer but it will be tough for anyone to beat the Paul Peter-trained Summer Pudding.”

Image: Mike De Kock // Candiese Lenferna

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