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Entries in Mike de Kock (517)


Sandton Will Never Be The Same Again

Ready To Run Gallops Judges PanelReady To Run Gallops Judges Panel / Leigh Willson (p)

“Only one sale in the world is attended by a ‘judges’ panel drawn from the industry’s racing elite, who share their wisdom with the world, but there’s an added dimension to the judging this year: the audience is invited to participate.”

mick gossMick Goss
Summerhill CEO
It’s been a good few years since our “digs” at the National Yearling Sales were apartments in the vicinity of the Wanderers Cricket Club. My morning jog in those days used to take me up around the home of my old pal then-Nedbank CEO, Rick Laubscher, through the park-like grounds of the venerable Inanda Club, and back past the palatial abode of Edgars and Coromandel Stud founder, Sydney Press. If the Inanda Club had a surreal feel to it in those days, when much of the land in that neck of the woods resembled a farm, imagine it these days ensconced in the walls of suburban Illovo, and surrounded by some of the great homes of our landmass. Founded in 1934 by Johannesburg’s “A-list” families in conjunction with the Rand Hunt Club (only in Jo’burg would you find a “hunt club” these days in the middle of a city precinct), Inanda celebrates its 80th birthday this year in facilities comparable to the plushest anywhere, an eclectic mix of modern practicality and the style that belongs alone to the gentleman’s clubs of India’s Raj.

Looking out from the balconies of the Polo lounge, to the North and East stretches the most valuable commercial real estate on the continent, punctuated everywhere by the headquarters of our biggest financial institutions, while here in the midst of it all, the teenage daughter of an expatriate merchant banker “sticks-and-balls” across the pitch in the company of her Zulu mentor, who’s perfected the art of letting a few squeeze through like they were great shots.

While you might have thought they’d be toiling away in Cape Town with less than a week to their Ready To Run auction at Durbanville racecourse, it’s apparent from the numbers, and the gravitas of the honchos at Inanda this past week, that the CTS team means business as they launch the first-ever Ready To Run sale in the moneyed sanctum of the City of Gold. Club Manager Paul Oosthuizen rattles off the names of some of the luminaries we might expect at the ringside, former celebrated racehorse owner and chairman of Anglo Vaal, Basil Hersov and his wife, Antoinette (remember Abbey Boy?), Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (he of the multimillion Rand buffaloes) and former president Thabo Mbeki. An enterprising lady bandies about a choice of lunchtime entertainers, and the consensus falls with former Idols star, Jason Hartman. Another is on the phone arranging a performance for the opening ceremony by the Lipizzaners, descendants of the incomparable stock at Vienna’s Spanish Riding School; that they are here is attributable to the daring and compassion of the supreme horsemen, Col George Iwanowski and Count Jankowitz-Besan, who smuggled them out through Tito’s Yugoslavia during World War II to their haven in South Africa, where they’ve been ever since.

They mean business all right, this CTS lot, and you can be sure there’ll be more than a smattering of Sandton’s “mink” set in attendance come Friday 31st October. In the Hunt Lounge, a television crew conducts interviews for Sunday’s “Breeding To Win” programme (Channel 239 on DSTV at 7pm) where the first inklings of what’s in store will be aired for the first time.

CTS have big plans for the gallops too, now officially scheduled for 10am Friday 17th October at their traditional home, here at Summerhill. Heaven knows what we should expect, but following their maxi-haul at the “Nationals” of two-thirds of our Visionaires, we’re told that some of the Western Cape’s biggest hitters are planning a repeat raid by executive jet on the gallops, and that they intend remodelling the face of our dinner celebrations at Hartford House the evening before. Oribi airport has been told to reserve at least two parking bays. A clamp on a few Visionaires is a possibility, but given that its protagonists over the years include de Kock, Malherbe, Kannemeyer and Ramsden, upping the “ante” on the evening’s events will take a bit of doing.

On the score of these gentleman, only one sale in the world is attended by a “judges” panel drawn from the industry’s racing elite, who share their wisdom with the world, but there’s an added dimension to the judging this year: the audience is invited to participate. Long before the pens come out in judgment however, the day’s rituals commence with luxury coach conveyance from Durban, Summerveld and Ashburton, champagne and strawberries and our victorious Zulu dance troupe, fresh from their triumph at Edinburgh’s Military Tattoo, will announce our arrivals, and lunch will be one of those country occasions that’ll stick forever.

Nobody needs telling, but we’ve seen some innovations at the Ready To Run, inspired principally by those who earn their crusts at Summerhill and the geniuses at Emperors Palace. We never thought we’d have to wait three scores and change to witness the next revolution. Believe me though, it’s arrived.

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email


Of Golden Swords and Car Park Queens

golden sword colt foalGolden Sword Colt Foal / Ian Todd (p)

Extract from Backworth Stud

This time of year is always so rewarding for a Stud Farm as the season’s foals begin to arrive. This handsome youngster is a colt foal by Golden Sword (High Chaparral) out of our British mare Car Park Queen (Zamindar).

Golden Sword, who stands at Summerhill Stud here in KwaZulu-Natal, was a Graded Stakes winner of four races from 1400m to 2400m, earning in excess of R7million in his racing career. He was a runaway winner of the time honourded Group 3 Chester Vase Came and came within two lengths of the upset of the decade when running World Champion Sea The Stars to the line in the Investec English Derby (Gr 1). In Dubai, he ran the fastest 2000m in that country’s history for internationally acclaimed South African trainer Mike de Kock. Golden Sword’s Sire, High Chaparral, is the first stallion since his own illustrous sire, Sadler’s Wells, to achieve six Group One winners from his first year at stud.

Car Park Queen, is by Gone West’s Juddmonte Farms stallion, Zamindar, Sire of the brilliant Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Zarkava.

Of Golden Swords and Car Park Queens - Breeding and Racing News - Backworth Stud


Greatest Hits on Debut

greatest hits horseGreatest Hits - 2013 Summerhill Ready To Run Graduate / Gold Circle (p)


Right Approach (GB) - Play Music (Arg) by Mutakddim (USA)
3 Year-Old Colt

Owners : Messrs M F de Kock, C S Haynes, G M Grant, Dr J & Mrs A J McVeigh & Mrs N P Malherbe
Trainer : Mike de Kock
Jockey : Anthony Delpech
Breeder : Wilgerbosdrif

GREATEST HITS is a graduate from the Summerhill draft
of the 2013 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale.

For Maiden 3 Year Olds
Greyville, Poly, 1350m
21 September 2014

# Horse Jockey Trainer MR Kg Draw Lengths
1 GREATEST HITS A Delpech Garth Puller 0 58 8 0.00
1 RUMBULLION A Mgudlwa Mike de Kock 82 58 3 0.00
3 MILITARY LEADER *D Dillon Doug Campbell 0 58 6 1.75
4 BURRA BOY K de Melo Mark Dixon 0 58 9 1.90
5 ELECTROSHOCK S Randolph Glen Kotzen 76 58 2 3.65
6 DIODATA S Veale Duncan Howells 0 58 4 4.15
7 WINTER’S HEIR B Jacobson Garth Puller 0 58 7 4.20
8 SAN DIEGO A Forbes Michael Miller 0 58 5 6.45
9 IN THE TRENCHES B Lerena Alyson Wright 0 58 1 7.20

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email


Variety Club... Decisions To Be Made

Anton Marcus celebrates aboard Variety Club in the Champions MileAnton Marcus celebrates aboard Variety Club in the Champions Mile (G1) / HKJC (p)

“Champions Mile winner Variety Club is unlikely to race again this year”

Hong Kong - Champions Mile winner Variety Club is unlikely to race again this year, with trainer Mike De Kock declaring the horse “very doubtful” for December’s Hong Kong Mile.

Variety Club won the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night in March and went on to claim his first international Grade 1 scalp in the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in May.

Plans to run in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on 5 October and the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on 1 November have also been shelved. But the top South African horseman still has hopes for HKIR success with Vercingetorix, who finished second in the Grade 1 Dubai Duty Free before finishing third in the Grade 1 QEII Cup at Sha Tin.

De Kock spoke to the press at Sha Tin yesterday:

“It hasn’t been straightforward in training with Variety Club. He travelled very badly back to England (after the Champions Mile), got very aggressive on the flight and had to be sedated a number of times. He lost a lot of weight. So we had to stop training him and build him up from scratch again, really. It’s obviously very disappointing but we need to put the welfare of the horse first.”

“Because of his behaviour it’s decision time for his owner Markus Jooste. Does he retire and go to stud, or should we give him a proper rest and have another go at next year’s season? This is not a decision he wants to make in a hurry.”

De Kock believes he has a chance at International Group 1 glory with Vercingetorix, though.

De Kock continued: “Vercingetorix also didn’t travel back well but he’s done very well in England. He’s looking fantastic and I would certainly like to bring him across (for the Longines Hong Kong International Raceday on 14 December), providing training goes well.

“If we do, we’d probably have to give him a trial in Hong Kong (on the trial day, 23 November). That’s something I’d have to discuss with Sheikh Mohammed (bin Khalifa Al Maktoum) but I’m very keen to bring Vercingetorix. He ran a good third (in the QEII Cup in April) and was not quite at his best after a hard season in Dubai.”

Extract from Tab News



soft falling rainSoft Falling Rain / Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins (p)

National Assembly (CAN) - Gardener’s Delight (USA)

South African-bred international Group winner Soft Falling Rain has been secured for stud by Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Farm. The lightly-raced five-year-old will be returning to South Africa shortly to take up stallion duties.

Mike de Kock said on Thursday that Soft Falling Rain will be syndicated and that his original owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, will be retaining a share following a deal brokered by Jehan Malherbe of Form Bloodstock.

Mike commented: “This is a coup for the South African breeding industry. Soft Falling Rain was a world class sprinter-miler and will bring a valuable pedigree, remarkable versatility and true international quality to our community of breeders. Soft Falling Rain has been doing plenty of travelling which is not ideal for a horse of this calibre competing at the highest level. It takes its toll. This is the right time to have retired him. That Sheikh Hamdan has kept a share is most encouraging. He will support Soft Falling Rain with some of his top broodmares. Wilgerbosdrift, too, has a terrific broodmare band.”

Soft Falling Rain was bred at Highlands Farm. He is by National Assembly from Gardener’s Delight (Giant’s Causeway) and was a R350,000 yearling at the inaugural Cape Yearling Sale in 2011, purchased for Sheikh Hamdan by Angus Gold and Form Bloodstock.

Soft Falling Rain was successful on three continents. He won seven of 13 starts - on turf and all-weather tracks - and was placed twice for career earnings of approximately ZAR13-million. As a two-year-old, he won the 2012 Grade 1 SA Nursery over 1200m at Turffontein by four lengths. Exported to Dubai, his three-year-old career produced wins in the 2013 Grade 3 UAE 2000 Guineas and the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile, both over 1600m.

As an early four-year-old, Soft Falling Rain proved a class above his opposition in the Grade 2 Nayef Joel Stakes, beating Montridge by 3.75-lengths over the Newmarket Mile. He returned to Dubai to defend the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup Day in March 2014 and finished a gallant second to his supremely accomplished stablemate Variety Club.

Soft Falling Rain was shipped back to the UK to contest what would be his final race, the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over 1600m at Royal Ascot last June. Despite an interrupted preparation, he gave a good account of himself finishing only 4 lengths off Toronado, just running out of steam late in the race.

Soft Falling Rain had a highest career rating of 122 following his Group 2 win in the UK. He goes to stud with a final rating of 120.

Extract from Mike de Kock Racing

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