Europa Point too sharp for Empress Club rivals
Report: South Africa, Tuesday
Turffontein: L.Jaffee Empress Club Stakes (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+ f/m
EUROPA POINT successfully stepped up to Grade 1 company to record her fifth successive win and give trainer Mike de Kock his fourth Empress Club victory in seven years.
Mike de Kock: good Empress recordPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Anton Marcus sent the Rock Of Gibraltar mare to the front just inside the furlong marker and the 13-2 chance strode clear to beat Hidden Beauty by three and a half lengths with Happy Archer half a length away third.
The going, although officially good, was widely described as "quick and fast" and this proved the undoing of last year's winner Dancewiththedevil. Gavin Lerena was throwing out distress signals turning for home and, while his mount ran on to take fourth, she never looked like finishing any closer.
De Kock said: "I was quietly confident about Europa Point. She was six months behind but her pedigree would suggest that the older she gets the better she will be, and she has improved out of all proportion. It was a fantastic win."
Marcus added: "Shetravelled nicely, the pace was on - as we all anticipated it would be - and her turn of foot was instantaneous.
"But racing is a funny game. I came up here tonight after riding in Durban to ride J J The Jet Plane and I was gutted when he got beaten. Now I win this."
Also on Tuesday
Turffontein: Champions Day Pinnacle Stakes 5f, turf, 3yo+
J J The Jet Plane, who drifted from 1-4 to 7-20, took a false step leaving the stalls and was never able to assert control, going down by only a quarter of a length to 15-1 shot Winking Jack (Lance Wiid/Gavin Lerena).
Wiid said: "I never thought we had a chance against J J The Jet Plane but he stumbled out of the gate and my horse is all heart. With the problems he's got, most horses would just fall over and say 'that's it'."