HERE is a response from Mike de Kock on the comments made by Graeme Hawkins in the Gold Circle executive’s own response to a letter concerning the selection of the2013 Vodacom Durban July field penned by Larry Nestadt.
In so far as Tequila Sunrise being used as a line horse in the SA Derby, and being the trainer of the horse, I concur with Graeme Hawkins that this was ludicrous as Tequila Sunrise was not ridden out in the final furlong. In my opinion the Handicapper should be subject to a disciplinary hearing for getting it so wrong!
– My understanding is that the first Vodacom Durban July Log was issued by Graeme Hawkins ALONE! (I hope I am wrong).
– I accept that, had Gothic and Wild One been rated correctly, they would be 103 and 101 respectively but are still 2lbs and 4lbs short of Rock Cocktail. The way the Handicappers flip-flop on their assessment of the SA Derby is unacceptable and inexcusable.
Rock Cocktail (nearest camera), good Graded form.
– The significance of the SA Derby form over and above the Daily News is confusing given the fact that some years ago it was debated at Graded Stakes Committee level to downgrade the SA Derby – a Committee Graeme served on.
– I agree fully with Graeme’s assessment of the Woolavington.
– On the six horses unanimously eliminated I am baffled with the elimination of Master Plan rated 110. It is stated that cognizance is given to Gr 1 form rather than form from other races – here we have a horse that has won a Gr 1 (not a Grooms Plate) and run close up to the best horses in the Country at Gr 1 Weight for Age level and yet this is clearly ignored. His new trainer gave him 2 prep runs and he is deemed to be off form???
– In so far as the score 1-1 between Wild One and Rock Cocktail and the form of Gothic I have the following to say:
-Rock Cocktail finished ahead of Wild One in a Gr 1 while Wild One getting 3 lbs finished ahead of Rock Cocktail in a listed event – so much for Gr 1 form being significant. I can also give excuses for Rock Cocktail’s run in the Derby Trial like Graeme finds excuses for Wild One in the Daily News!
-Gothic ran in the Derby Trial also ahead of Rock Cocktail receiving 4 kg’s. It is stated that Rock Cocktail was excluded as he is yet to win a Stakes race so why is this thinking not applied to Gothic who won a Grooms Plate??
-Rock Cocktail is placed at Gr 2 level with older horses and under sufferance with many of the VDJ leading contenders behind him. Gothic is placed at Gr 1 level restricted only to 3 year olds.
-With reference to paragraph 4, Port Elizabeth’s leading trainer confidently declared Anthony Delpech on Jet Explorer a week before the final field was announced as he (the top PE trainer) claimed to know for a fact that Rock Cocktail would not make the final cut.
Jet Explorer: Jockey secured in advance.
-Trainer Kom Naidoo also stated to all who would listen that he knew for a fact that Gothic was in the final field. Rumour has it that a deal was done to guarantee a run for Gothic when the horse changed stables and owners. (I sincerely hope this is only a rumour and not fact and possibly an inquiry into this whole debacle would reveal all).
-With reference to Graeme’s point “no trainer no matter how successful he or she may be enjoys any automatic privilege or right of entry/acceptance”, I comment as follows:
-At no time did any connection of Rock Cocktail suggest the above should take place. I take exception to the innuendo in this paragraph. If this was the thinking of the panel I would suggest that being a successful and high profile trainer probably worked against me and the connections so that a point could be driven home.
-At the end of the day the whole process needs to be revisited, something I have suggested for many years but it has fallen on deaf ears!
I accept that Graeme Hawkins’s intentions are honorable and I am not in any way suggesting a lack of integrity. The process this year has led to more questions than answers. We understand, that under the set conditions, Gold Circle are entitled to accept or eliminate any horse from the race, however I do not believe that judicious application of their minds took place.
In closing let me state that I am as always fully committed to transparency and to the growth, integrity and prosperity of horseracing and that I will cooperate with anyone else committed to the same. I know for a fact that there is a better way of establishing final runners for a Graded race, a process that largely removes the human element and should be actively applied.