Mike de Kock Trainer in Dubai
Mike de Kock Trainer in Dubai

Mike de Kock

(Photo : Tab Online)

Your thoughts on the Dubai Racing Carnival…

We’ve had any number of mails from every conceivable quarter of the world after Igugu’s big win in the J&B Met Saturday. One of our regular correspondents from America, ‘Green Beret’ is an avid Dubai-watcher, and he knows the form there as well as anyone we know. These are his thoughts (what are yours?).

Dear Summerhill Stud,

Thanks a heap for uploading the replays of Igugu’s wins in the G1 Durban July and again today in the G1 J&B Met!! This filly really looks special to me. To take down both the Durban July and J&B Met is no feat, because there’s some top class, middle distance turf horses racing in South Africa these days!! With the Dubai Carnival in full swing right now, I’m rooting hard for the Mike De Kock horses, as I always do every year!! Musir looks really at the top of his game right now!! But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that maybe Mike De Kock and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum will decide to ship this filly over as their #1 entry for this year’s G1 Sheema Classic on March 31st?? As badly as I hate saying this, it’s the one race De Kock looks like he’s lacking for a top class horse on cup night. He’s got Bold Silvano and Master of Hounds for the DWC. Musir and River Jetez for the Duty Free. But to my knowledge, he only has Irish Flame and possibly Mahbooba as his Sheema Classic possible’s at the moment? I know Irish Flame was a G1 winner of the Daily News 2000 in South Africa back in 2010. But for whatever reason, he just hasn’t been able to reproduce the same level of form in Dubai that he produced in South Africa? Mahbooba’s a talented filly, also. But I think the Cape Verdie showed us she’d likely be vulnerable against the worlds top 12f turf horses in the Sheema Classic? But if he sends Igugu? Whole new ballgame!! This filly could level the playing field for Mike De Kock chances to win the Sheema in a heartbeat if she shows up?? Any filly capable of winning the Durban July and J&B Met back to back would definitely have a legit shot at winning the Sheema Classic, too. IMO.

Mick’s reply to Green Beret :

Good Morning to you.

Many thanks for your comments on Igugu. You are right, she is quite special. We’ve had comments from around the world, and there are several Australians suggesting that she and Black Caviar are the two best racemares in the world right now. Whether that’s right or not, remains to be seen, but it’s some kind of compliment to what she’s achieved. Unfortunately, our exports have been temporarily suspended through a farcical provision in our protocols with the EU, and that means Dubai will not see Igugu this year. She’s better than everything you’ve mentioned in your note, with the possible exception of Bold Silvano, the extent of whose true talent is as yet uncovered. There is a suggestion here that there might be political issues behind the unwillingliness to remove the export restrictions, so Dubai will be the worse for not having her.

On a line through some of our internationally-campaigned horses, it’s clear Igugu would be an enormous factor if they’d let her loose.

Green Beret’s reply :

Dear SummerhillStud,

Being from America, I wasn’t aware of the political issues with EU being factor for her getting to race in Dubai, and that’s a real shame, IMO. Because with the possible exception of

Snow Fairy

when she’s at her dead level best

, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a middle distance filly or mare anywhere in the world that’s as good as Igugu. But the advantage she has on Snow Fairy is that she’s still very lightly raced, and still has a huge scope to improve from where she already is. Snow Fairy, though really brilliant at times, has pretty much reached her peak potential, IMO. Also very much agree with you about Bold Silvano!! Another that it’s really unclear how good how could really be? He was my pick to win the

Dubai World Cup

last year until the injury that sidelined him after winning the

Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2

. My comments and opinions about different horses are only my own, so if they end up sparking a lively debate, so be it!! LOL. As for


, I’ve loved that horse since I saw him race

early on in his career. I used to call Bankable the “

Rodney Dangerfield

” of racing, because he never quite got the level of respect he truly deserved. Thanks so much for your reply, and best wishes and regards to all at

Summerhill Stud