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Entries in Mike de Kock (509)

Saturday
Jun212014

MDK'S ROYAL ASCOT HIGHS AND LOWS

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth with Racing Manager John WarrenHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth with Racing Manager John Warren / The Telegraph (p)

“I thought that someone was playing a joke on me but it turned out to be true.”
- Mike de Kock

“Better luck next time, we’ll come back and try again!” That’s really all that stables beaten at the world’s most exclusive race meeting can say when coming away also-rans, but there’s nothing but honour in defeat at Royal Ascot. The privilege of competing there over-rides disappointing results.

Mike de Kock, his connections and the many supporters of Soft Falling Rain and Shea Shea were understandably downhearted after the South African pair had failed to make the frame in respective Group 1 races on the first day of the 2014 Royal Ascot Festival Tuesday. Success on the hallowed Royal Ascot turf will remain a dream for now, but there’s always another day and Mike and his team will live to see it.

Soft Falling Rain raced well in contention until the closing stages of the Queen Anne Stakes over 1600m, looking threatening for a while before running out of steam to finish sixth, four lengths behind the well-fancied favourite Toronado. Shea Shea ran well below his best form in the King’s Stand Stakes over 1000m. Under pressure to challenge fully 500m out, he never got into the hunt and was beaten around six lengths by his old rival Sole Power, who racked up a back-to-back double in this fifth leg of the 2014 Global Sprint Championship.

Mike and jockey Christophe Soumillon were puzzled by Shea Shea’s effort - he failed by the proverbial whisker when Sole Power flew up to nab him on the line last year and judged on his good preparation before this year’s renewal he was at more or less the same level of form and in with a big chance of turning the tables.

Mike reported, however, that Shea Shea started coughing badly about half an hour after the race and said: “This goes some way to explaining this run and we will be keeping a close eye on him.”

He was happy with Soft Falling Rain’s performance, saying: “As noted, he didn’t have an ideal preparation at all, he ran a temperature and as a result we lost 10 days of work which is vital at this level. Considering this he put up a credible showing. We’ll see how he pulls up and look at our options; there are no firm plans for his next race.”

Mike’s day took a surprising turn when he was notified by Ascot Management that Queen Elizabeth had personally extended an invitation to her Royal Suite. Her Majesty was apparently keen to meet South Africa’s globetrotting trainer.

Mike related: “I thought that someone was playing a joke on me but it turned out to be true. I was escorted to the Royal Box where Queen Elizabeth was enjoying the day in the company of her racing manager John Warren and Ascot Patron Johnny Wetherby.

“What a privilege. Her Majesty was welcoming and extremely friendly and being acquainted with Bernard Kantor and familiar with his Investec Derby race day she was well up to date with South African racing and our quarantine problems. She had sympathy with our plight, shared her views and we spoke for about 15 minutes. She is smaller in stature than I’d thought, she was chatty and very polite and I left quite amazed at the honour of meeting her unexpectedly.”

Extract from Mike de Kock Racing

Thursday
Jun122014

SOFT FALLING RAIN & SHEA SHEA SET FOR ROYAL ASCOT SHOWDOWNS

ROYAL ASCOT
17 - 21 June 2014

Soft Falling Rain (SAF) (National Assembly) and Shea Shea (SAF) (National Emblem) will represent South Africa on Tuesday, 17 June, the opening day of this year’s Royal Ascot, UK. Mike de Kock will be hoping for a Group 1 double from his stable stars in the Queen Anne Stakes and the King’s Stand Stakes.

Soft Falling Rain runs in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile in the first race of the meeting and is looking to banish memories of his last visit to Ascot back in 2013. On that occasion, on QIPCO British Champions Day, he was only able to finish 11th out of 12 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes behind Olympic Glory (IRE) (Choisir).

That was his third run in Britain last season and it followed victory in the Group 2 Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket. He was also victorious three times in a row at the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival, including in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on World Cup Night.

Since defeat on British Champions Day though, Sheikh Hamdan’s charge hasn’t quite matched his form of 2013, with his two runs at the 2014 Dubai Carnival both resulting in defeat. However his run last time out, when runner-up in the Godolphin Mile on the World Cup card, has worked out well, with the winner Variety Club (SAF) (Var) going onto Group 1 glory at Sha Tin in the Group 1 Champions Mile.

If able to build upon that performance, and if the ground at Ascot remains on the quick side, then Soft Falling Rain with Paul Hanagan aboard is sure to have a chance of winning his second Group 1 and reversing last season’s form with Olympic Glory.

Sole Power (Ire) (Kyllachy) and Shea Shea, separated by a neck in that order in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes 12 months ago, will face off once again in that contest next Tuesday.

The 7-year-old Sole Power prepared for this with a win in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket May 3, but he faces a formidable foe in Shea Shea, who has finished ahead of Sole Power six times since last March. The only time Sole Power has bested Shea Shea was in the King’s Stand. Shea Shea won the Group 3 Meydan Sprint March 8, with Sole Power back in fourth, and finished third when last seen in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint March 29. Sole Power was seventh.

Sole Power was ridden to victory by Johnny Murtagh 12 months ago, but with that champion jockey now retired from the saddle to focus on training, Ryan Moore take the reins.

“Johnny was brilliant on him last year as we know and Ryan is a good jockey and gets on well with him too,” trainer Eddie Lynam told PA Sport. “I believe they are starting to water Ascot, which is a worry for Sole Power. The rain hasn’t stopped for 48 hours and they are out with the sprinklers. He’s in good form and takes his chance.”

There were 23 left in the race at yesterday’s declaration stage, including last year’s third place finisher Pearl Secret (GB) (Compton Place), and Godolphin’s Ahtoug (GB) (Byron), who split Shea Shea and the victorious Amber Sky (Aus) (Exceed and Excel) when second in the Al Quoz Sprint.

Extracts from GBI Racing/Thoroughbred Daily News

www.ascot.co.uk

Monday
Jun022014

WILD ONE, GOTHIC & SHOGUNNAR IN LONSDALE STIRRUP CUP NAILBITER

wild one - lonsdale stirrup cupWild One, Gothic and Shogunnar - Lonsdale Stirrup Cup (Grade 3) / Gold Circle (p)

LONSDALE STIRRUP CUP (Grade 3)
Greyville, Turf, 2400m
31 May 2014

A heart-stopping awkward final few strides failed to stop an impressive late burst by Scott Bros-bred Wild One as he made a winning debut for new trainer Mike de Kock in the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup at Greyville Saturday. His narrow victory over the flying Summerhill Ready To Run graduate, Gothic, and Solskjaer gelding, Shogunnar, may have presented a backdoor shout for the entry into the Vodacom Durban July.

The Gavin Van Zyl-trained Shogunnar led King Neptune and Wavin’ Flag into the straight as they fanned out for the charge to the line. Wild One had been five lengths off the leaders and in touch for most of the trip and jockey Anthony Delpech took him to the inside rail for what looked a winning charge as Shogunnar continued to plug away with Vaughan Marshall-trained Gothic storming down the middle.

At the 200 marker Wild One appeared to start hanging under pressure with Delpech changing whip hands as his mount appeared to momentarily lose his momentum and falter. In a drive to the line Wild One’s hesitation almost cost him victory but he had done enough and won by a nose in a time of 152,73 secs.

Gothic made a heartening return to better form, while Shogunnar was prominent for a long way and ran a gallant race at the weights. Alexander flew late from too far back after fighting his rider and came on to share fourth cheque under a length off the winner with Wavin’ Flag, who had every chance but nothing to offer late.

The former Jeff Freedman-trained Wild One scored a shock win on debut before going on to place in the 2013 Grade 1 SA Derby, but has been a largely frustrating horse to race since those early sunshine days. He chalked up just his third career win here in his first run for the master trainer and just a week ago was considered an optimistic July entry. He probably still is, but showed that he could still at the least develop into something competitive in other features this season.

Lonsdale Stirrup Cup (Grade 3)
Final Result

# Horse Jockey Trainer Kg Draw Lengths
1 WILD ONE A Delpech Mike de Kock 52.0 1 0.0
2 GOTHIC *D Dillon Vaughan Marshall 54.5 3 0.1
3 SHOGUNNAR K Shea Gavin van Zyl 59.5 11 0.1
4 WAVIN’ FLAG G Hatt Brett Crawford 53.0 2 0.9
5 ALEXANDER K de Melo Glen Kotzen 52.0 9 0.9
6 NO WORRIES S Randolph Gavin van Zyl 60.0 14 2.8
7 GREAT RUMPUS M Yeni Frank Robinson 53.5 7 3.1
8 GONE BABY GONE J Mariba Mike de Kock 52.0 10 3.3
9 JEPPE’S REEF G van Niekerk Mike Bass 58.0 5 3.5
10 KING NEPTUNE S Veale Dennis Drier 52.5 8 4.8
11 TRUE MASTER A Mgudlwa Justin Snaith 55.5 12 5.5
12 BARACAH B Nyawo Sean Tarry 57.5 6 6.8
13 ETON MESS I Sturgeon Ivan Moore 54.5 4 8.2
14 TRESCO S Khumalo Sean Tarry 52.0 13 13.0

Extracts from Sporting Post

Saturday
May312014

THE 4 C'S OF THE ASIAN RACING CONFERENCE

asian racing conference 2014

ASIAN RACING CONFERENCE
Hong Kong 2014

hazel kayiyaHazel KayiyaGlobalisation and innovative technology have closed the gap of global boundaries, thus making the business environment more dynamic. At the 35th Asian Horseracing Conference (ARC) held in Hong Kong in May 2014, the fundamental question asked was: How do organisations achieve and sustain long-term survival in a competitive and multifaceted environment? Four pillars were adopted to try and answer this question and were dubbed the four C’s - Customer, Compete, Connect and Create.

The previous three conferences have focused on the challenges to our industry and ways of addressing them. One of these challenges included a stagnant consumer demand for horseracing due to a lack of participation from the younger generation. The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) formulated an in-depth and complete customer analysis of their current and potential customers. They focused on customer behaviour and how their time is spent. It was interesting to note that through this process, they realised the racing product itself, in terms of quality of racing, field size and integrity, was not the problem. Rather, there was found to be a need to focus on creating a customer experience that addressed the wants of all the different segments; becoming more “customer eccentric” is vital to the sustainable growth of the industry.

Connecting with the customer was one of the sessions that I most enjoyed. It aligned the two C’s, “customer and create”, together. The focus was on racing strategies that could be used to understand customers. It challenged the members of the horseracing  industry to shift our current paradigm from focusing not only on what the potential customers want, but rather on us evolving into strategic visionaries who are able to anticipate their future wants, becoming the market changers-and-shapers. As Steve Jobs once said: “How does somebody know what they want, if they haven’t even seen it?”

Innovation and technology seem to be synonymous in the 21st Century. The digital revolution has resulted in customers demanding so much more from the horseracing industry, not only in the form of wagering platforms, but also in the way of entertainment value. As the moderator introduced the session Cutting Edge Technology in Sports and TV (and whatever the next medium may be), my mind drifted to the Winter Workshop seminar held at Summerhill Stud in July 2013. Wowed by Patrick Cummings, Director of Racing Information for Trakus and his presentation on Racing, Technology and the 21st Century, I was definitely looking forward to hearing the views of other industry players; I was certainly not disappointed! How can racing use TV optimally to deliver entertainment to its existing followers and attract new fans? was one of the questions that was being addressed at the ARC, a subject that is relevant in all aspects of the horseracing industry. Gary Burns, Head of Programmes and Production for FOX SPORTS Australia, illustrated how we can connect with our customers without having to invest a hefty sum in technology. If you love gadgets and you’re curious to understand the ways in which technology has been implemented across the sporting industry, as well as developing an understanding of how the various initiatives that have been implemented to promote racing work, especially amongst the younger generation, then this was a “must-watch” session.

There were several attendees from South Africa (SA), and there were also those who were following the conference online. If South Africans were to take a page out of Visionaire’s book, ten lengths behind in the King Bishops (Gr.1), only to come out victorious, the optimistic girl in me believes that the South African horseracing industry could also take a “quantum technology leap”, with a last-to-first win! This would not only bring people closer to the Sport of Kings, but horseracing in South Africa could be victorious, too.

Variety Club has made us proud, not only by being the first “foreign” horse to win the Champion’s Mile at Sha Tin (Hong Kong), but also by being rated the World’s Second Best Racehorse on the Longines Rankings (January - May 2014), ahead of horses like Cirrus Des Aigles, It’s A Dundeel, Treve and Vercingetorix. His spectacular win further went on to substantiate the necessity of international competition in order to promote the future of the sport. It is rather unfortunate that South Africa bears the brunt of the challenges caused by inconsistent approaches to the application of health regulations and quarantine, ultimately leading to excessive and irregular health requirements for the exportation of thoroughbreds. It was however encouraging to see the article written by Simon Burgess of Thorough Media (visit: blog.summerhill.co.za) where he states: “South African-bred horses and racing are the best kept secret in the world and the recent exploits of pioneers like Mike de Kock go a long way in vindicating that theory.”

Personally, I hope effective headway will be made in the near future to break down the barriers of these harsh export protocols. The ripple effect of such an event happening will go a long way, not only in promoting and growing the breeding industry in South Africa, but also by allowing more than just a handful of South African bred horses to compete in the international arena. After all, “compete” was one of the pillars that the ARC was advocating. Surely something’s got to give eventually, especially noting this issue has been a hot topic over the past several years.

The ARC ended off with a spectacular closing ceremony, with the flag being handed over to India for the next ARC in 2016. What a privilege it was, not only to attend, but also be part of the 35th ARC Team. The four C’s: Customer, Connect, Compete and Create, were not just spoken about on stage, but also a culture lived behind the scenes, contributing greatly to the success of the conference.

I am eagerly awaiting the next ARC, but until then, I am looking forward to the first week of July; the Vodacom Durban July on the 5th at the Home of the Champions - Gold Circle, the Summerhill Stud Stallion Day on the 6th at the Land of Legends and the Winter Workshop I mentioned earlier, on the 7th and 8th at the School of Equine Management Excellence.

Sunday
May252014

ALBORAN SEA AND RICH GIRL IN ALLAN ROBERTSON 'ROCK' ONE-TWO

Alboran Sea - Allan Robertson ChampionshipAlboran Sea - Allan Robertson Championship (Grade 1) / Gold Circle (p)

ALLAN ROBERTSON CHAMPIONSHIP (Grade 1)
Scottsville, Turf, 1200m
24 May 2014

Trainer Mike de Kock’s chances of winning the Allan Robertson Championship might have diminished when hot ante-post favourite Majmu had to be scratched from the race due to a virus, but South Africa’s ruling Champion Trainer won the race anyway with 12-1 Australian import Alboran Sea (Rock Of Gibraltar) and also saddled the third horse past the post in better-fancied One Fine Day (Trippi). Well-backed Rich Girl (Rock Of Gibraltar) split them and favourite Balkan (Horse Chestnut) finished unplaced.

Jockey Muzi Yeni, who is currently fourth on the national jockeys’ log, had Alboran Sea in fourth alongside Arria (Antonius Pius)  and Rich Girl as Balkan set the pace just ahead of Seven Whispers (Seventh Rock) and Flame Cat (Tale Of The Cat). One Fine Day was on Alboran Sea’s heels.

Yeni found himself with nowhere to go behind Balkan, with Flame Cat and Cotton Candy (Trippi) on either side of him as Rich Girl launched a successful challenge for the lead. However, at the 200m marker, Balkan started fading and a gap materialised. Within a matter of strides Alboran Sea had the race at her mercy.

She went on to win by 2.25 lengths from the Summerhill Ready To Run graduate, Rich Girl, with One Fine Day running on strongly for third. The rest were well beaten and Balkan finished ninth, more than 11 lengths behind the winner.

It was the Mary Slack and Michael Javett-owned filly’s second win in as many starts and she looks nearly as special as her hot stablemate Majmu.

Allan Robertson Championship (Grade 1)
Final Results

# Horse Jockey Trainer Kg Draw Lengths
1 ALBORAN SEA M Yeni Mike de Kock 58.0 2 0.0
2 RICH GIRL A Marcus Charles Laird 58.0 11 2.2
3 ONE FINE DAY B Fayd’Herbe Mike de Kock 58.0 1 2.5
4 ROSIER S Randolph Glen Kotzen 58.0 7 6.5
5 FLAME CAT G Lerena Mike Azzie 58.0 12 8.2
6 SHAHRASAL A Delpech Mike de Kock 58.0 4 8.8
7 LADY KY S Khumalo Mike Azzie 58.0 9 8.9
8 SEVEN WHISPERS M Odendaal Barend Botes 58.0 5 10.1
9 BALKAN S Cormack Dennis Drier 58.0 8 11.9
10 MISS ARGENTINA K Shea Duncan Howells 58.0 13 12.6
11 ARRIA R Fourie Justin Snaith 58.0 15 14.1
12 WHISTLING WONDER * D Dillon Michael Roberts 58.0 6 16.6
13 COTTON CANDY G van Niekerk Justin Snaith 58.0 3 16.7
14 MILLENIUM REIGN W Marwing Sean Tarry 58.0 10 23.5
15 FLYING LOOT P Strydom Paul Lafferty 58.0 14 31.2

Extract from Tab News

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