MIKE de Kock has slammed the decision of the panel that selected the final field for the 2013 Vodacom Durban July, to omit Rock Cocktail.
The final field for the R3.5-million race to be run over 2200m at Greyville on Saturday 6 July was announced on Tuesday and although he has a merit rating of 105, which is higher than six of the runners that did make the field, Rock Cocktail’s name does not appear among the twenty names that constitute the 2013 line-up.
Mike, angered by Rock Cocktail’s omission, commented: “Every year I expect the worst from the Gold Circle panel and I’m rarely disappointed. All they have done is to confirm what everybody already knows – that they’re incompetent!’’
On the conditions of Vodacom Durban July selection, Gold Circle states: “It is an express condition of this race that the Company reserves the right to exclude any horse, which, in its opinion, does not warrant inclusion in the race. In addition, the Company shall have the right to exclude any horse at Declaration Stage, and to decide on the final field for the race.’’
Gold Circle have also been publishing a log which “will reflect all the horses, in order of preference, as to the make-up of the final field at the time of publication. Factors used will include the horses current Merit Rating, its current racing form and competitiveness in the Graded and Listed stakes program over the past year.’’
As it happened, the final July log was published on 4 June, before final supplementary entries. It was only at that stage that Rock Cocktail was supplemented into the race. As a result, no log giving any indication of where Rock Cocktail, and the filly Jet Belle, would fit in was ever released publicly.
Mike’s decision to enter Rock Cocktail into the July was based on his second place behind Jet Explorer in the Grade 2 Betting World 1900 and his fifth behind Vercingetorix in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000, beaten only a length. Wylie Hall was just 0.75 lengths ahead of him in the Daily News while Wild One was 2.50 lengths behind. Both those runners cracked the nod from the panel.
On the basis of his Daily News run the handicapper raised Rock Cocktail’s merit rating from 90 to 105. There was no adjustment to Wild One, which indicates that he ran to his rating, which is 10 points lower than Rock Cocktail.
“What makes me suspicious is that there is no transparency. My nose twitches because of the manner it is done,’’ said Mike. “Everything happens behind closed doors.”
He added: “I am quite happy to expose my horses but clearly I am wrong. You must not be open. You must duck and dive or be an owner or trainer who is very matey with members of the panel. Year in and year out, the Gold Circle panel manages to sour South Africa’s biggest racing spectacle.’’
Mike felt the betting would have reflected that his runner had a chance. “Rock Cocktail would have been fifth or sixth in the betting. There would have been a market. Some of their selections will hardly attract a bet.
“Our horse aside, I am surprised that Geoff Woodruff’s 103-rated runner, Tellina, wasn’t deemed good enough to take his place in the July. For example, there is nothing on form between Tellina and Love Struck, who was included in the final twenty. Some years ago the Graded Stakes Committee debated having the SA Derby downgraded to a Grade 2 race, despite the many champions that had won it. This year the Gold Circle panel seems to have favoured the Derby form above the Daily News form. But perhaps I’m being too harsh on the panel. My owners and I have gotten used to the transparent processes and levels of professionalism in racing jurisdictions in other parts of the world.”
Woodruff commented about Tellina: “His omission makes a mockery of the selection criteria. I think they’ve done a disservice to the owner.’’
Gothic has no right toooo in top 20!!!! As for rock cocktail..his the only 3yr old to run in a open graded race!! Tellina as stronger form than love struck so the big question is who in the blue hell picked this weak sicking field?? Lol its a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gothic has no right toooo be in top 20!!!! As for rock cocktail..his the only 3yr old to run in a open graded race!! Tellina as stronger form than love struck so the big question is who in the blue hell picked this weak sicking field?? Lol its a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its sad to see this years july field, you would have expected 20 of SAs best runners but instead we get horses that don’t deserve to be in the race. Its a disappointment to see that from the 2 best stables in the country only 1 horse gets into the july.
I agree with Mike.Something smells bad here
What utter rubbish. Gold Circle do not know what they are doing. They have totally devalued this great race.this is a joke.
I think Mike de Kock is wasting his time here in South Africa and should rather push forward with his International horses, more money and more respect. In my view Gold Circle is as corrupt as the South African Goverment, work and help there friends to achive more. The Durban July should be for Horses that have won Grade 1 and 2 races only or horses with exceptional merit ratings and not horses that are hovering around the novices. Horses like Tellina, Jet Belle, Rock Cocktail and Bravura should be in this July and Gothic, Wild one, E Jet should not.
I agree with michael de kok and jeff woodruff leaving out rock cocktail and tellina is absurd both horses are suited to 2200m cocktail ran a good second in greyville 1900 and tellina raced wide in daily news with blinkers first time running on 7lenghts adrift both these trainers have a excellent july race history I am dumbfounded this year will be july no 35 for me have been there since politician won in 1978 sad to say selectors have lost the plot
Incompetant’ is not strong enough to descibe the Gold Circle panel they are an absolute bunch of “MULLETS” looking after the interests of their maaitjies. I hope there is an investigation into these irregularities as nowhere else in the world of racing will this be tollerated.