Mike de Kock finished third on the trainers’ log last season with his runners earning R16,683,057.50.
However, his win percentage of 17.10% was at least 3% higher than any other trainer in the top 20.
“We never really had the talent last season that we have had in the past but I’m very excited about our current crop of three-year-olds,” said De Kock yesterday.
Heading the list is Australian-bred Soqrat who De Kock believes is the real deal. “I can compare him to Noah From Goa but I believe he is even better. I don’t believe he is one of those horses who performs well as a two-year-old in those Greyville features and then fails to train on.
“I’m convinced he will stay a strong 1600m and will be a top miler but he still needs to be ex-posed to the best in the land.”
This son of Epaule e is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum who also owns Barahin, who is the only runner to have beaten Soqrat, and Alyaasaat.
Barahin won the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe in which he touched off Soqrat but while the two might still bump one another in some of the three-year-old features De Kock believes Barahin will be campaigning over further as time goes on.
Alyaasaat lost ground at the start in the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes and still ran on well enough to finish a two-length second behind Soqrat. De Kock believes he also has a bunch of useful three-year-old fillies and two of them are owned by Sheikh Hamdan – Firdoas and Ghaalla.
Ghaalla won on debut, beating Celtic Sea in the process but then disappointed in her next two starts. However, De Kock pointed out they were over sprint distances.
“She needs at least a mile (1600m),” said De Kock. De Kock believes Buffalo Bill Cody is the best of his older runners. “He’s a very smart horse and he won well over 1600m last time. We’ve given him a rest but he will be back for the summer.”
Heavenly Blue has had his problems but recently had a wind operation and De Kock believes there is more to come from him. It is o en a case of “out of sight, out of mind” and that seems to be the case with Taking the peace.
She set the racing world alight when she headed into the SA Oaks chasing the R1-million bonus for capturing the Wilgerbosdri Tripple Tiara.
“She didn’t even get a mention at the Equus Awards but if you take a line through Fiorella she is right up there with Oh Susanna and Snowdance,” said De Kock. “We still have some exciting young horses to come out and we are hopeful that they will be very good. And then we also have some nice babies. I think we have a nice spread,” said De Kock.
As far as his Dubai runners are concerned for next year’s World Cup Carnival De Kock feels he will have a be er string than he had earlier this year.
“The best horse we had for the past season was probably Janoobi. He is a good, honest sort but he had his limitations. This year I will have horses like Majestic Mambo, Marinaresco, Royal Crusade, Yakeen and Hermo-so Mundo. “I always felt Majestic Mambo was probably the best three-year-old in the country and now he has been gelded. Marinaresco is get-ting on a bit but he is talented. I’ve seen a lot of older horses do well in Dubai.“Well done to the owners of Hermoso Mundo.
There’s nothing really left for him in this country so they out down their money and are prepared to send him over-seas. His age is not a problem as the stayers seem to go on forever.
“Royal Crusade and Yakeen are handicappers but you need those sorts of horses in your yard. They pick up a small handicap and they win good money,” said De Kock. “We also have picked up a dirt winner in Argentina as well and then we bought one in America.”
A syndicate of stud farms purchased Fire Away to stand at Wilgerbosdri Stud next season.
The syndicate includes major studs like Wilgerbosdri , Drak-enstein, Moutonshoek, Mauritzfontein, Avontuur, Ascot, Wick-low, Cheveley, Ndoro, Piemonte and Boland Stud.
Fire Away was bought in USA last month and arrived at Abing-ton Place in the UK on Saturday to join the De Kock team in Dubai.He will race in the Dubai Carnival before shipping to South Africa in April to take up stud duties.
He is a son of War Front out of a daughter legendary Personal Ensign and Fire Away’s pedigree contains as much excellence as one could ever hope for.
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