MIKE De Kock has won the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup twice and, if parallels with his 2008 winner Archipenko hold true, he could make it three with Viscount Nelson at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Archipenko was an ex- Aidan O’Brien- trained entire, arriving racefit after a Dubai carnival campaign and a last- start placing on World Cup night, triumphing in the QE II despite a lack of exposure at the top level.
There are striking similarities with Viscount Nelson, the five- year- old former O’brien colt who is coming off a five- run campaign in the Emirates which culminated with a second to African Story in the Godolphin Mile.
According to De Kock’s Dubai-based assistant Trevor Brown, who also travelled with Archipenko, the comparisons don’t stop there. “He’s quite a character and always wants to fight in a gallop, he is very competitive,” Brown said. “I enjoy the horse’s attitude and he reminds me a lot of Archipenko.”
Viscount Nelson’s biggest win was in February’s Group Two Al Fahidi Fort ( 1,600m), the same race Archipenko won before a third in the Dubai Duty Free, but Brown admits “This will be his true test. We’ve still got see if he is up to international Group One level, we haven’t managed to test him properly in Dubai.”
Brown said he was leaving tactics to the trainer and jockey Kevin Shea, but suggested alterations to the horse’s usual hold- up pattern if necessary. “A lot is going to depend on the draw,” he said. “They don’t always go a good gallop here … you want to give him a chance and make sure it is a test for the 10 furlongs.