South Africa Racehorse Trainer Mike de Kock
South Africa Racehorse Trainer Mike de Kock

South African Trainer, Mike de Kock

(Image : Summerhill Stud)


26 March 2011

Mike de Kock’s stranglehold on the Dubai Racing Carnival’s trainer’s championship over the past decade has thrust him into the conjecture of horsemen across the globe, as to whether he is not the reigning king among racehorse conditioners. As complete as his dominance has been in the past several years, it’s an arguable proposition that this year he has a fistful of even better prospects for World Cup night.

Ask any group of Super Fifteen franchise coaches, and they’ll tell you it’s a long haul to the finals, and that as much as you might have a skilled team on your hands, you still need to have a minimum of interventions. Injury can lay the best plans to waste, and Mike de Kock will need all the elements on his side going into the grande finale, but on the face of what we’ve seen so far, he’ll have as formidable a hand as anybody’s ever had.

Bold Silvano must surely top his list of hopefuls for the $10 million Dubai World Cup itself, and it’s probable he will be backed up by Musir in that line-up.

From what he told us last week, and on the evidence of his showing on Friday evening, Golden Sword has put his hand up in no uncertain terms, with options for both the World Cup and the Sheema Classic (over 2400m, a distance at which he’s already excelled in Europe). While he’s been a hard knocker as a stallion in Europe, his sire High Chaparral is as hot-as-hell in the Southern Hemisphere, where he’s been represented by the likes of So You Think and Shootout in Australia, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifah Al Maktoum and Mary Slack have a proper sire prospect on their hands.

Any trainer would count himself happy with those three alone, but that’s not the end of Mike de Kock’s retinue. Raihana has already booked her place for the Duty Free, while River Jetez staked an enormous claim with her closing burst in Friday’s Balanchine (Gr.2). She looks to be in the form of her life, (yes, even better than on J&B Met day, when she put down the charge of her illustrious full brother, Pocket Power), and she would obviously have options in both the Duty Free and the Sheema Classic (she won the Gold Circle Oaks over the trip).

Dare we mention it, but our own Imbongi, third in last year’s Duty Free, must be a big runner in the Godolphin Mile, given his liking for the tapeta surface. He’s getting on a bit now, and has a bit of mileage on those wheels, so Mike thinks he’s a better prospect on the forgiving tapeta, as opposed to the turf. That means he probably won’t be defending his title in the Super Thursday edition of the Zabeel Mile (Gr.2), but he’ll be out there doing his stuff, either way. His younger brother Mahubo was a fast closing second on Thursday evening, and he’ll be squeezed back into the programme somewhere along the line, “Inshallah” (as they like to say in Dubai).