MIKE de Kock has been left with no option but to use the long haul to get his runners to Dubai for the 2013 season, reports JACK MILNER of Racing Express.
At this stage there has been no change to the protocols for horses to leave South African shores so De Kock will have to take his runners through Mauritius, then into Europe and finally into Dubai.“The horses will go into quarantine in Cape Town for 21 days and then they go off to Mauritius, where they will have to have a 90-day ‘residency’. After that they will fly to Europe for a further 30 days, before being sent on to Dubai,” explained De Kock.
“Why we have to first go to Europe from Mauritius inexplicable. There is no science or logic to the rationale. We will be spending 90 days in Mauritius, where there is no African horse sickness. If it’s good enough for the European Union to take us from Mauritius, why is not good enough for Dubai?
“Looking at it from the other point of view, if there is a risk to Dubai, why is it not a risk to Europe?”
De Kock is currently in Mauritius to check on the conditions on the island. “This is a long way for the horses to travel and there is always a concern because they have to take three flights.”
At this stage, De Kock has not finalised the list of horses leaving the country but it will be headed up by Vodacom Durban July and J&B Met-winning filly Igugu. Also on their way will be unbeaten two-year-old colt Soft Falling Rain, along with The Apache, Royal Ridge, Kavanagh, Jet Legend and recent winner El Estruenoso.
Kavanagh was a bit of a surprise addition, especially after his unplaced run in the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes recently. However, De Kock explained: “I thought we were going into quarantine at the end of April so I stopped working him and unfortunately he went into the Drill Hall Stakes a little underdone. I think he will love the Tapeta track in Dubai.
“Jet Legend has a decent merit rating and I think we can pick up a few handicaps with him.”
Looking at the KwaZulu-Natal season, De Kock said Ilha Bela took her win in the Grade 2 SA Oaks very well. “She’s still in Joburg and she’s doing well on the Polytrack, which has brought out the best in her. I think we will raid from here rather than base her in Durban.”
Her first mission is the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 at Greyville in June, and then the Durban July.
“At this stage of the game she’s put her hand up and she looks a runner for the July, but there are some older horses that also have chances, one of them being Berry Blaze.
“Her last run over 1450m at Turffontein was far too short, but she could be an interesting proposition.”
As far as Grade 1 President’s Champions Challenge winner Europa Point is concerned, De Kock said: “She staying in Johannesburg at this stage. I think we’ll look at the Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes or the Gold Challenge as a possibility for her.”
Headline photo: Igugu, Dubai-bound.