Three-year-old filly Alboran Sea (AUS) was turned out so well she had racegoers gasping on the canterdown to the start of the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship over 1000m at Kenilworth on Saturday.
There were more gasps to come during the last 100m of the race when the result came down to the very last stride. It was up to the judge to separate Alboran Sea and her older male contemporary Captain Of All, who burst onto the scene in the dying moments to stake a claim that was denied by a proverbial whisker as the verdict went to the Mike de Kock-trained filly.
Jockey Weichong Marwing had to draw on every ounce of his considerable skills to keep Alboran Sea focused to the wire and in the strides past the post he was worried that Sean Cormack had beaten them on Dennis Drier’s top-class Captain Of All.
“I wasn’t sure, I thought Captain Of All may have nabbed us on the line, but I won’t argue with the judge,” said Marwing, who last sat on a Gr1 winner from the De Kock stable when Bold Ellinore won the Garden Province Stakes back in 2007.
The jockey said that the stable’s pre-race plan didn’t work out as they’d anticipated: “We wanted Alboran Sea to be about two lengths behind Trip Tease but as it happened my filly was too fast, she kept up with Trip Tease, she was faster and I had to use her action sooner than I wanted to. But this was a great win and Alboran Sea will improve more. It’s wonderful to have ridden another big winner for the stable and the owners, thanks to Mary Slack and Mr (Michael) Javett.”
Mary expressed her delight and said she was particularly happy for her co-owner: “Mr Javett normally likes to buy stayers and I’m glad he has a share in a top sprinter now. I like my runners to have a rest after a win like this, but we’ll leave it to Mike to decide.”
Mike pointed out that there are only a few major sprints left for the season, including the Gr1 Computaform Sprint and the SA Fillies Sprint. He will have his sights sets on an overseas campaign with this elegant daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar and will be playing things by ear over the next few months.
Mike thanked trainer Brett Crawford and his team for the use of their facilities at Phillipi and said: “I don’t normally send my Cape runners down this early but Alboran Sea had to come down with Pine Princess due to the issue around movement restrictions at Randjesfontein. Brett was most accommodating, Alboran Sea enjoyed the beach, there is something about it, horses love it.”
Mike also praised Mathew and Diane de Kock for their hard work in his absence, racing in Dubai. “Mathew controlled everything while I was away. Well done to the team, I am very proud,” he said.