Mike de Kock - Newmarket Yard
Mike de Kock - Newmarket Yard

Mike de Kock

(Photo : Tab Online)

“If the BHA agrees, the horses will race under the names

of their South African trainers.”

Michael Clower - Racing Post
Michael Clower - Racing Post

Michael Clower

Racing PostMike de Kock is planning to expand his Newmarket operation by persuading other South African trainers to send him horses to be trained at his Abington Place base.

He will charge his normal training fees but the South African trainers will be paid the statutory percentages on their horses’ earnings while De Kock will take a smaller percentage. Furthermore, if the BHA agrees, the horses will race under the names of their South African trainers.

The seven-time South African Champion Trainer revealed his plans in an interview with David Mickleburgh commissioned by the country’s TBA and published on their website (click here to read the article).

De Kock also revealed his frustration at the complicated, lengthy and expensive travel arrangements necessitated by the ban on direct importation of horses from South Africa. This was imposed as a result of outbreaks of African Horse Sickness and is not due to expire until next May. Therefore his Dubai horses have gone via Mauritius and they have to then spend a further 30 days in Europe before being allowed into Dubai.

He said: “It costs the racehorses a potential health-threatening 147 days (including 40 in Mauritius where they are locked in their stables from 4.00pm to 8.30am with only an early morning feed, and then a 50-day residency period) and costs the owners US$50,000 per horse to meet the export protocols.”

“There is no scientific or veterinary reason for these imposts beyond the reasonable 21 days quarantine in South Africa to ensure that the animal is clean. Compare this to the limited restrictions on Australian horses where the illnesses they get can be life-threatening to even humans.”

“These restrictions are like a trade embargo and could even be considered illegal. Our authorities could, perhaps, become a little more aggressive and contemplate legal action. After all we have never exported a single case of African Horse Sickness.”

“But somewhere in an unknown address funny little people, who patently know nothing and are driven by a form of paranoia, or more worryingly may have an axe to grind or have become accommodating for other reasons, invent restrictions on South African horses that are beyond comprehension. I can only hope that when the next round of protocols is announced someone sees reason.”

Extract from Racing Post