DURBAN – One of the weekend highlights was the performance of the Mike de Kock-trained Mount Pleasant, who is emerging as a potential champion in a male sophomore crop which could in time prove to be as exciting as its female counterpart as there have been some eye-catching runners down in Cape Town.
The Australian-bred Mount Pleasant faced the many-times Grade 1-placed five-year-old Cirillo on weight-for-age terms in the Grade 3 Joburg Spring Challenge over 1450m and beat him cosily by a length despite it being just his third career outing and his first start around the turn. The five-year-old Grade 1 winner Chimichuri Run was 1kg worse off than weight-for-age with Mount Pleasant and was beaten 2,50 lengths.
Mount Pleasant carried 51kg under Callan Murray and jumped from a good draw of four.
Murray placed the long-striding Vancouver colt behind the useful Riverstown, who ran on the quarters of the leader Cirillo.
In the straight he drove him with the hands until the 250m mark. He then gave him a smack and it was soon clear he had the measure of Cirillo who had dictated in front.
De Kock and his buying team of Jehan Malherbe and JJ van der Linden bought the colt for AUS $90,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
De Kock loves this pedigree and it was his third time at the well as he had previously bought the first two foals of Mount Pleasant’s dam Life In A Metro. This Fastnet Rock mare won once and is a half-sister to two Group 1 winners and to a Group 3 winner.
The previous two foals were Hakeem (Redoute’s Choice), a two-time winner in SA who ironically finished unplaced over 1365m at Champ De Mars in Mauritius on Sunday, and Belton Road (All Too Hard), who won once in Jo’burg before being sent to Kimberley.
De Kock said Mount Pleasant’s first big mission would be the Dingaans. His Coolmore sire Vancouver (Medaglia D’Oro) won Australia’s biggest sire producing race, the Group 1 Golden Slipper over 1200m, having earlier won a Group 3 over 1100m and a Group 2 over 1200m.
He was retired after being sent to AP O’Brien’s yard in Ireland as his blood picture took a turn for the worse before his debut and failed to improve. He had earlier put up outstanding work and was being targeted at some of the big Group 1 sprints in the UK.
The Group 1-winning half-sisters to Mount Pleasant’s dam respectively won the Group 1 Australasian Oaks over 2000m and the Group 1 Australian Oaks over 2400m.
Therefore, Mount Pleasant will have a chance of seeing out the Sun Met and Vodacom Durban July distances and his running style certainly suggests he will enjoy middle distances.