Sokanon gets top billing ahead of Summer Cup

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  • February 21, 2023
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Describing emerging galloper Sokanon as the best horse he has trained is not a claim Wingatui conditioner Terry Kennedy makes lightly.

Kennedy and his wife Debbie have had plenty of gun gallopers through their stable but both agree the Darci Brahma five-year-old deserves top billing.

“He’d be the best we’ve had. Debbie has ridden some pretty handy ones but she said he’s the best she’s ridden too,” Kennedy said.

“He’s as good as you get. He’s pretty classy.”

A winner of three of his five starts, Sokanon goes into Saturday’s ODT Southern Mile Qualifier – Summer Cup (1600m) at Invercargill without a run since his clinical win in the same grade at Wingatui on Boxing Day.

“He hasn’t really been out of third gear yet this time in,” Kennedy said.

“The only concern I’ve got is that he hasn’t had a race for a little while. If he could run in the top three, we’d be very happy. But he’s going there to win and it will take a good horse to beat him.”

Kennedy’s target with Sokanon is the ODT Southern Mile Final (1600m) at Wingatui on March 5 but believes the gelding’s long-term future is in Australia.

“We’ll get him to the final but I’d say he’d be best suited in Melbourne after that. He’s a three-win horse already rated 75 so the handicapping really pushes you to go to Australia,” Kennedy said.

Bred and raced by Eric Parr, Sokanon did his early education with North Canterbury trainer Danny Frye before joining Kennedy.

“Danny told Eric when he was a two- and three-year-old that he was the best horse he’d had so he’s always shown plenty of promise,” Kennedy said.

“He was just a bit weak early on. He’s a lot stronger now and he’s a big boy now too. He had a couple of trials with Danny but he’s just got better with age.

“We’ve just had to give him time. He’s always shown a heap of ability and he’ll be even better next season.”

Sokanon has drawn barrier 13 for the Summer Cup but Kennedy is likely to instruct rider Shankar Muniandy to be positive from the outset.

“He’s pretty adaptable,” Kennedy said. “He’s drawn out but with Invercargill at the mile start, you are sometimes better drawn out a bit. He’ll settle in the first five or six; he’s good enough to sit outside the leader.”

Kennedy will have at least five runners at Invercargill on Saturday, with Generation Joy slated for the Listed ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas (1600m), Sadler’s Lass in the Baillie & Lewis Pharmacy Invercargill Gold Cup and Pickens and Anticipate on the undercard. Stablemates Atomic and Darci’s Belle are emergencies in Anticipate’s race.

“The 1600m won’t be a problem for Generation Joy, though she has an awkward barrier as well,” Kennedy said.

“She’s got blinkers on for the first time so she’ll race fairly handy. (Favourite) Specialty is a very good horse and he’s probably going to be a bit good for her but if she could run in the first four, get a bit of black-type, we’d be happy. The Warstep Stakes (2000m, Listed, at Riccarton on April 22) will be a good race for her.”

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