where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2010-01-28 08:39:40  

 Pocket Power looked in good shape galloping on the cinders at Milnerton on Monday ahead of his date with destiny in the J&B Met on Saturday and the Mike Bass yard were probably more relaxed than this time last year when Dancer’s Daughter loomed a big danger.

Pocket Power worked with Air Combat and turned for home in the 1400m gallop about a length back before making up the leeway steadily.

The yard were pleased with the gallop and felt that Air Combat had worked very well indeed.

If Pocket Power wins he will probably be the first horse in world history to win two major races four times in succession.

He completed a four-timer in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on January 9 and will be bidding to add one more to his hat-trick of J&B Met wins on Saturday.

There is therefore a certain amount of dismay in the Bass camp that Pocket Power still seems to have to prove himself every year to some pundits who have not yet cottoned on that weight turnarounds mean very little to the great horse.

No matter what weight he is given or which horses can beat him on paper according to their last meeting, he wins, and if he was given more and more weight, he would probably still win.

He is yet to be defeated in 15 starts around the turn at Kenilworth.

Asked where they felt he should be ranked among South Africa’s all time greats, Mike said, “I think he is one of the best we’ve ever had. People talk about his advantage at the conditions, but he wins with contempt. He has been superior to all of the best horses of his time, who just can’t compete with him.”

Mark Bass, Mike’s son and the yard’s website manager and photographer, was more adamant. “Just look at his record. They speak of the horses that have left for overseas, but can any of them name one South African export who could beat him?”

Candice Robinson, Bass’ daughter and assistant trainer, said, “An Australian I met out here couldn’t believe the apathy of the public towards Pocket Power. He said that if Pocket was an Australian horse he would be a national hero and people surrounding him after each of his wins would be 100 deep. When Makybe Diva won the Melbourne Cup for the third time in a row she received five pages of front page coverage!”

It was clear that, despite his age of seven, the yard still felt he had it in him to win again and would be “up for it”.

Bass said that Pocket Power had broken the race record in the Queen’s Plate, so it could have been one of his best performances, while jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe added that the victory had felt no different to any of his others.

“He has matured so might be a bit heavier than last year,” said Mike, “But he looked very well before the Queen’s Plate and he still looks well and is not over the top.”

He added that if Pocket were taken out of the race there were about nine other horses who could win this year, but he felt that none of them were as good as last year’s runner up, Dancer’s Daughter.

Bass felt that the two main dangers among the nine were Pocket’s stable-mate and full-sister, River Jetez, and the Stan Elley-trained Kapil, who finished third and a somewhat unlucky fourth in last year’s race respectively.

Fayd’Herbe felt River Jetez was the main danger. “She had no chance in the TBA Paddock Stakes due to the really slow pace,” he said. “She is in very good shape.”

River Jetez put in very good work on Monday when galloping with Love Is In The Air.

The Bass yard would not be human if there weren’t some concerns about Pocket Power.

“I’m happy with his draw of two,” said Bass. “But the best draw would be four to eight.”

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