mike de kock

Mike de Kock
(TDSports/John Lewis)

The month of December is not all about Christmas stockings and decorated trees for reigning South African Champion Trainer Mike de Kock, as it heralds the start of another preparatory phase in his build up to the Dubai Racing Carnival.

Mike de Kock Racing reports that the 2009 renewal of the world’s richest racing spectacle will represent Mike de Kock’s sixth sojourn to the UAE desert. Every year he’s had to match a terrific previous season but time and again he’s managed to better his own records with phenomenal spells of success.

In his five desert seasons so far Mike de Kock has saddled an astounding 63 winners from only 288 runners , capturing some of the world’s richest and most sought-after racing trophies against gruelling competition from the very best the racing world has to offer.

With 20 of those winners recorded in 2007, his best UAE season ever, Mike de Kock’s task seems to be getting harder, yet in 2009 his string will be 45 strong, more than twice the average number he’s trained at his Grandstand Stable Complex in his first five years.

With 19 inmates already in work with assistant Trevor Brown in Dubai and at least another 23 soon on the way on different chartered flights, Dubai 2009 could be Mike de Kock’s greatest carnival ever.

A Summer Cup winner, a Durban July winner, Derby winners, an Oaks winner and SA’s Champion Sprinter left Cape Town for Mike de Kock’s base at Newmarket, England, in October. They included Summerhill Stud’s multiple Graded winner Imbongi, Grade 1 winning three-year-old Rocks Off, Daily News 2000 winner Russian Sage, top class Oaks winner Front House, sprint sensation JJ The Jet Plane as well as sand stars Naples and Quicksand.

All, except JJ The Jet Plane and Breeders Cup Turf runner-up Eagle Mountain are expected to leave England for Dubai on 4 December. “JJ’’ and Eagle Mountain will stop over in Hong Kong en route to Dubai to contest races on the Cathay Pacific International Extravaganza and Mike de Kock said: “There is a quarantine issue which concerns JJ, but he has been officially invited to the Hong Kong Sprint and is being prepared for the race. The officials are bending over backwards to help us. Eagle Mountain will be going for the Hong Kong 2000.”

Trevor Brown said from Dubai yesterday: “All is well and we’re looking forward to a cracking season. Among the horses already back in training here are Archipenko, Asiatic Boy and Honour Devil, who have all had nice breaks and are starting to shed their excess condition, and Inca Noble, a very talented but injury-prone filly who is doing exceptionally well at the moment.’’

Among the Dubai stalwarts from previous years who are likely to race at Jebel Ali and perhaps Nad Al Sheba in the pre-carnival period from 19 December are Ablaan, gelded Limehouse and Drift Ice. In early January there could be races for the likes of Brave Tin Soldier and Trinity College.

New acquisitions already in Dubai are Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Indian Tamburina, a filly Trevor Brown describes as small and laid-back, but with good ability, Zajel and Musaytit from Australia and Blues And Rock from Argentina.

Four recent acquisitions from Coolmore are also on their way and include Zulu Chief, a half-brother to boom sire Hawk Wing, and Macarthur, a brother to Racing Post Derby winner Motivator, by Montjeu.

“Royal Vintage, Lucky Find and another new horse called Stubbs Art landed in Dubai last Thursday,” Trevor Brown concluded.