Mike de Kock
(John Lewis)

Well it went right down to the wire in the tightest contest of the season as Charles Laird and Mike de Kock duelled gallantly for the South African Trainers Championship.

Race 7 at the Vaal today, the final day of the South African racing season, turned out to be the clincher with Mike de Kock emerging victorious, taking his fourth Championship title. Ironically, we saw it coming. Both these men had Summerhill runners in their armoury for the meeting, and it was Charles’s second consecutive winner of the day, HURRICANE FORCE (MUHTAFAL / BAHAMA PALMS) a graduate of last year’s Ready to Run, that snatched the lead from Mike de Kock, giving Charles a margin of some R4,000 or R5,000. It was short-lived however, as CAPE TANGO (KAHAL / CITIDANCER by NORTHERN GUEST) came back in the very next breath to put the De Kock team in front again. As they went to the wire Charles had to win to wrap it up and that would’ve been the end of it, while anything less than that would have meant that CAPE TANGO’s victory on its own was enough.

South Africa is blessed in the depth of talent among its horsemen and this was yet another signal to the world, of just how deep the rivers flow. Two consummate professionals at the top of their game, slugging it out to the last bell. The entire Summerhill and Vuma teams salute the protagonists of this great chapter in racing history.

To Mike de Kock, from one Champion team to another, we extend our warmest congratulations, and to our old mate Charles Laird, salutations pal. It takes a professional of your calibre and a team as good as yours, to make this the greatest trainers’ contest in recorded history.