RACING’s so-called experts are quick to play the `Mike de Kock’s not here’ card when our horses in South Africa are beaten or when the yard is going through a quiet patch, writes MIKE DE KOCK.
In the long run, however, the stable has delivered consistently excellent results in Gauteng and Durban, even when I have been out of town.
One only needs to look at the South African trainers’ log to see that, even with our best horses abroad, we’re disputing matters at the very top with 54 winners halfway through the season and over R3,6 million in stakes.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to blame an assistant trainer when you’re having a run of seconds, or when fancied runners finish unplaced.
We’ve had our fair share of ‘assistant-bashing’ from certain owners and the racing media recently, but between Nathan Kotzen (Durban), Quinton Watt and John Buckler (Gauteng) we’ve racked up six fluent winners in the last week, excluding our successes in Dubai, where I am assisted by Steven Jell and Trevor Brown.
I’d say we have a reason to feel proud of our training teams around the world.
At Turffontein on Saturday 12 February, Fair Maiden raced to victory in the Grade 3 Three Troikas over 1400m, following up on Yard-Arm’s Group 3 win on a different continent the previous day. Both of them, interestingly, were bred by Lammerskraal Stud.
Fair Maiden is owned in partnership by Chris, Andrew and Helen Haynes and Gary Grant. We’ve nicknamed Chris and Gary the “beverage stewards’’ for their tendency to deliver wine and champagne at appropriate times, and I am sure a few celebratory glasses were raised in the Haynes household after Fair Maiden’s win.
Fair Maiden will improve several lengths with this run.