Mike de Kock
Mike de Kock

Mike de Kock / TB News (p)

“Imagine the heights we could reach if we were allowed to export our bloodstock within reasonable times, in line with the rest of the racing world” - Mike de Kock

Following Thursday night’s Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan, South African trainer Mike de Kock reflected with great joy and an equal measure of frustration.

De Kock praised South African breeders for producing three high-class winners at a single international meeting and urged the racing industry at large to assist in the lifting of export protocol measures that prevent South Africa from shipping bloodstock directly to the various racing jurisdictions abroad.

Existing export restrictions stipulate that horses shipped from South Africa have to spend a potential health-threatening 147 days en-route to Dubai and elsewhere.

This includes 40 days in Mauritius where they are locked in their stables from 4pm to 8.30am with only an early morning feed and then a 50-day residency period. This is followed by required spell of quarantine in the UK where severe climate changes have to be dealt with.

De Kock opined: “Our results at this Dubai meeting were spectacular. If the racing world doesn’t wake up after this I don’t know what it will take to get them behind us. Our stud farms breed high-quality bloodstock at the most affordable prices. They’re able to hold their own anywhere in the world - we’ve proven that time and again and our results get better every year.

“On Thursday night three South African-bred runners won in top company at the world’s richest racing extravaganza, proving their class and versatility. Variety Club, our dual Horse Of The Year, franked his form with an easy Grade 3 win first time out on foreign soil and on a new racing surface. Vercingetorix, an unbeaten Grade 1 winner in South Africa, stepped out winning after his long travels and Sanshaawes underlined the strength of our form with an easy victory on the all-weather track.”

“Despite having proven ourselves over and over on the world stage, the South African racing industry is severely hampered from competing on equal terms with the rest of the world. We don’t have many friends and there is no help forthcoming. There’s a group of influential decision-makers purposefully standing in our way. We’re held back by opinion, not by science and it’s patently wrong!”

He added: “Imagine the heights we could reach if we were allowed to export our bloodstock within reasonable times, in line with the rest of the racing world. As it stands, our ability to compete is limited. Should the power players not be helping us? We’re stuck. Where are the individuals with the courage to open doors for us?”

Extracts from Tab News