Shortly after his annual raid on the Dubai Carnival meeting, South Africa’s most well-known globetrotting trainer, Mike de Kock, took a moment out of his busy schedule to chat with the TDN’s Brittlan Wall.
— Thoroughbred Daily News

What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

I can’t think of anything too unusual… I’ve eaten a cooked locust. I mean that’s not that unusual. Is it? I can’t remember where, but it was at some exotic restaurant where you could eat insects and like.

What is your best childhood memory?

The day I left school. I was very happy to leave; I hated learning. I hated class but I really loved sport, so leaving grade school was a very happy time.

Favourite sport outside of racing?

Favourite sport outside of racing has got to be golf. I’m a big sports fan – I like watching all sports – but golf has to be my favourite.

Did you watch the Masters tournament at Augusta, Georgia then?

Yes I did. I’ve actually been there once – I watched Phil Mickelson the year he won so that was really good. It’s not easy to get in there though – it’s quite an elite event I’d say. You almost have to know someone just to go.

As a sports enthusiast then, is it safe to say that you are a fan of rugby?

Definitely a fan of rugby. The Springboks are our national rugby team and the Lions are our provisional side that I support.

Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?

Chris Haynes, a friend, patron and most importantly… my accountant.

What is your first thought when you wake up in the morning?

“I don’t want to get out of bed… but I have to.” (chuckles)

What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve ever had to make?

Probably when the boss I was working for died, and the patrons offered me the job to carry on training. It was something I wasn’t really ready for and I wasn’t sure that I wanted it. I was young and I wanted to travel, and I knew that if I took the job, that it would tie me down. I was 24 when I took the job. It was tough but a good decision.

Where would you travel for your ideal vacation?

Being a golfer, there are a lot of places to go because there are so many golf courses around the world. But if I must be honest the one place I really, really want to go and have a good holiday is South America – down south in Bariloche, Argentina. I've never had a good holiday there but I've been once or twice before. There are mountains, great lakes… it's a beautiful place.

What's your favourite movie?

Favourite movie is probably Snatch, with Brad Pitt if I remember correctly. It's a very good movie. Lots of one liners. Loved it.

Nothing technological, like an iPod or anything like that?

I would not bring an iPod, I would not bring a computer and I would not bring a cellphone. It would be a really good chance to get away from everything.

What's the last song you've listened too?

Honestly off the top of my head, I couldn't tell you, but something from the Rolling Stones was playing before you rang. They're one of my favourite music groups along with Queen.

What makes you happiest?

I think when the horses are running well and I'm playing really good golf!

What would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

When I look at my two wonderful children, to be honest. I'm very proud of them!

If you had one day left on earth, how would you want to spend it?

With my family on the golf course. That covers the two best things for me.


Mike de Kock