GILBERT ROUSSET : I’m not getting my hopes up too high, a déclaré Derreck David

Derreck David a réalisé son premier quadruple de la saison dimanche dernier

Les victoires, il est actuellement en train de les enfiler comme un collier de perles. Lui, c’est bien évidemment Derreck David, le leader incontestable au classement des jockeys. Discret dans le Maiden – Everest a terminé à la 6e place du Ruban Bleu – la cravache de l’entraînement Rousset a tout de même régalé ses fans en s’adjugeant quatre des huits courses au programme, portant du coup son total de victoires à 31 pour le présent exercice. A un tel rythme, la cravache d’or semble se rapprocher inexorablement mais notre interlocuteur n’a pas tenu à s’enflammer pour autant quand nous l’avons rencontré dimanche après-midi à sa sortie de la jockey’s room.

Congratulations Derreck for yet another successful meeting. You seem to be quite on roll lately ?
Well, I can only thank God for all the success so far. There’s still two and a half months left of the season so I’m not getting my hopes up too high. But it’s surely given me a good advantage to become champion jockey this year.

Are the demerit points more than ever at the back of you mind ?
Not at all. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. If any interference happens and I get two more points and suspended six weeks, well obviously it was supposed to happen. I can’t control the future. It it happens, then so be it. If I’m meant to be champion, i’ll be the champion. All I can do is leave it into God’s hands.

Can we say that Derreck David has reached another level since entering the Hall Of Fame ?
I don’t think so. It’s true that the horses have reached another level though. The stable has turned nicely. During the first nine meetings this year, we’ve had 19 seconds so it’s just nice that our luck has turned. All our horses are running well, the’re feeling well and galloping well. I just hope it continues till the end of the season. I’m so happy for Gilbert, for Soodesh and the owners. It’s a great achievement to be doing what they do.

Were you expecting four wins today ?
To be honest, I was confident on five of my horses. New Star let me down a bit but the other four came home so it was a good day at the office.

Cherish The Charm was up two classes but still produced yet another fine display...
He’s something special. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it very openly again : Cherish The Charm is my Maiden Cup horse for next year. He’s something really nice. He’s still a big baby, an immature horse who is still winning the way he is. I’m very impressed. I’ve got big hopes with him. To do what he did today with the eighth draw and travelling one off all the way, galloping hard and finishing is really special. We have not seen the best of him yet.

Sole Mio was second best on his last outing but he made no mistake today. How did you fancy his chances prior to the race ?
He was my expected winner today. Everybody was talking to me about O’Chee Pan but my horse had beat him last time, even though he got interfered with. We must not forget that I had gone past him at the 200m before the incident happened. So I was expecting Sole Mio to win a lot easier than the way he did but I’m really happy he finally bagged his first win.

Sole Mio has won mainly 1000m in South Africa. With this win now under his belt, do you think he can be competitive on further distance, say 1400m ?
I would not test him that far just yet. But he’s won on 1200m there at the Vaal. It’s a long track and probably similar to a 1365m on the Champ de Mars.

With the first draw, can we safely say that Lietuva was a banker to bag his third win of the season ?
I think he went a bit too fast. He still won but he was tired the last bit. He’s also a really nice horse but I think 1365m is going to be his maximum. I honestly can’t see him going further, especially the way he pulls when he starts going. On 1000m or 1365m, he’s going to be competitive for another one or two classes.

But you did seem to have plenty in hand in the last turn…
I don’t think so. As I said, the horse was tired going up the hill. I was just so lucky that nobody went fast enough with me because he was hanging on in the concluding stages.

And what did you make of Seeking Angelo’s return to action after some time on the sidelines ?
It was a good run from him. He was coming back after a long rest. Kremlin Captain is something special, Hillbrow and Captain Magpie are good horses too so for him to finish fourth is not so bad. I think if they went a bit faster it would have suited him better. But I was very happy with the way he ran.

Harba showed a blistering finish to get back to winning ways…
He won well. He’s impressed me this horse, he’s just getting better and better. And still it’s not his distance. When he gets on 1850m, he’s going to show us what a real good horse he is. He should have finished second to Cherish The Charm last time had he not been interfered with by Rebel’s Game.

He looks to be a completely changed horse this year. How much do you think he’s improved ?
Well, he’s jumping now. That was his main problem last season, he was giving away too many lengths at the start. He’s more relaxed, he’s loving his racing at the moment. Once a horse is like that, it’s easier for me to control him around the track.

Don’t you think that the 1500m were a bit sharp for New Star ?
He definitely needs further but I just thought that he would be alright with the blinkers on this trip. Still, he did not run a bad race. I’ve got the feeling he will win soon this horse.

And what did you make of Everest’s run in the Maiden Cup ?
The 2400m were just too far. I recall I already said that the last time I rode him over 2200m (NDLR : The Turf Magazine Golden Trophy). He did settle in behind but he just did not have the stamina to stay. I think he’ll probably be a nice horse on 1600m or 1850m but not on this kind of distance.

What type of horse do you think you need to win a Maiden Cup ?
A good stayer, like Vettel. He outstayed everybody today. We were going really slow in the straight and Everest just plodded there. So if you’ve got a horse than can easily go 2400-2600m around this track, that will win you the Maiden Cup. For example, Cherish The Charm will go around this track four times and it will not bother him. He’s got the stamina, he’s bred to stay. Vettel’s the same, he won the Derby in South Africa and in Mauritius too. Love Struck and Bulsara look to be, on the other hand, better suited for 1600-1850m.

A word on the Maiden Cup winner whom you know quite well…
At the end of the day, a stayer won the Maiden Cup. Well done to Mr Ramapatee Gujadhur, it’s a great achievement. They’ve put their hand up and put a local jockey (NDLR : Jeanot Bardottier) to ride their horses and now with Kevin in the Maiden, the’re getting the results. So a big up to them.