MIKE de Kock reflected on Thursday night’s Carnival meeting at Meydan with great joy and an equal measure of frustration. He praised South African breeders for producing three high-class winners at a single international meeting and urged the racing industry at large to assist in the lifting of export protocol measures that prevent us from shipping bloodstock directly from South Africa to the various racing jurisdictions abroad.
Existing export restrictions stipulate that horses shipped from South Africa have to spend a potential health threatening 147 days en route to Dubai and elsewhere. This includes a 50 day residency period in Mauritius where they are locked in their stables from 4pm to 8.30am with only an early morning feed and then 40 days in quarantine with a spell in the UK where severe climate changes have to be dealt with.
Variety Club has brought his connections to the ‘big time’. (Andrew Watkins).
Mike opined: “Our results at this Dubai meeting were spectacular. If the racing world doesn’t wake up after this, I don’t know what it will take to get them behind us. Our stud farms breed high quality bloodstock at the most affordable prices. They’re able to hold their own anywhere in the world – we’ve proven that time and again and our results get better every year.
“(On Thursday night) three South African-bred runners won in top company at the world’s richest racing extravaganza, proving their class and versatility. Variety Club, our dual Horse Of The Year, franked his form with an easy Gr3 win, first time out on foreign soil and a new racing surface. Vercingetorix, an unbeaten Gr1 winner in SA, stepped out winning after his long travels and Sanshaawes underlined the strength of our form with an easy victory on the all-weather track.
“Despite having proven ourselves over and over on the world stage, the South African racing industry is severely hampered from competing on equal terms with the rest of the world. We don’t have many friends, and there is no help forthcoming. There’s a group of influential decision-makers purposefully standing in our way. We’re held back by opinion, not by science and it’s patently wrong!”
He added: “Imagine the heights we could reach if we were allowed to export our bloodstock within reasonable times, in line with the rest of the racing world. As it stands, our ability to compete is limited. Should the power players not be helping us? We’re stuck. Where are the individuals with the courage to open doors for us?”
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Mike congratulated the connections of Variety Club and said: “I am absolutely delighted for Joey Ramsden and the Jooste family. Markus has finally made his international debut and it was a fantastic way to do it. I believe this will be the start of more ventures for him, this will be the way to go. Of course one needs the right horse to race abroad and it’s a gamble that comes with with big expenses, but they have the means and expertise to start expanding their interests and I wish them well.
“I followed Variety Club’s impressive work and it was wonderful to see him reproduce his track form in the race, he did what we expected him to do and he will get better still. Well done to Anton Shepherd at Beaumont Stud for breeding him from Avontuur’s stallion, VAR. I’m sure Pippa Mickleburgh at Avontuur will be just as chuffed with this international headline.
“Vercingetorix was bred by Klawervlei from Maine Chance Farms’ champion stallion Silvano – another feather in the cap for Markus and more accolades for Dr Andreas Jacobs of Maine Chance. And let’s not forget the Thoroughbred Industry Transformation Programme’s Grooms Co-Op, who enabled a group of grooms to buy him as a weanling from Klawervlei and cashed in handsomely when he was sold.
“Congratulations to Barbara Sanne for breeding Sanshaawes at her Oldlands Stud from the Armitage family’s stallion Ashaawes. Thanks also to Piet Steyn, who trained him before he was transferred to us.”
Headline photo: Sanshaawes strides away to a good win at Meydan.