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Both Mike de Kock and Charles Laird could have a big say in the outcome of this year's R2million Steinhoff International Summer Cup to be run over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday, November 29.
The two trainers, who fought out last season's national championship, will saddle seven of the 18 runners who contest the Grade 1 race on the standside track. De Kock sends out Equal Image, Galant Gagnant, Rudra and Autumn Frost, while Laird runs Likeithot, Smart Banker and Senor Versace.
Laird's runners have been in rampant form of late and Likeithot won the Charity Mile November Handicap while Smart Banker prevailed in the Victory Moon Stakes, both Grade 2 events. At this point Laird has not declared his three jockeys but it is likely that stable rider Anton Marcus will take Smart Banker.
Rudra contested both those races and finished third in the Charity Mile and second in the Victory Moon but he meets both runners on 2kg better terms in the Summer Cup. There has been a change in riding arrangements with Kevin Shea taking Rudra while Anthony Delpech, who rode the four- year-old son of Parade Leader in his last two starts, now up on Galant Gagnant.
Thandolwami was the fastest finisher in the Charity Mile where he split Likeithot and Rudra. He will be better suited to this distance but while he meets Likeithot on 1.5kg better terms, Craig Eudey's runner is 0,5kg worse off with Rudra. Raymond Danielson retains the ride.
Gliding High also finished strongly in the Charity Mile to claim fifth spot, and Richard Fourie makes the trip from Cape Town to ride Brian Wiid's runner.
Also in the lineup are Gommagomma Challenge first and second, Eddington and She's On Fire. Piere Strydom has stayed with Dominic Zaki's runner while Weichong Marwing, who has won on the mare on two occasions, takes the ride on Ormond Ferraris's charge.
Geoff Woodruff will be represented by Aluminium and Prince Asad. With champion jockey Mark Khan taking the ride on Aluminium, he does appear to be the stable elect.
The draw for barrier positions will take place at Turffontein on Wednesday at 7.30pm, and will be shown live on Tellytrack.