VERCINGETORIX (photo) enters the quarantine area at Sha-Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong. He and stablemate Sanshaawes arrived on the island yesterday ahead of their participation in the $HK14-million Audemars Piquet QEII Cup over 2000m this Sunday, 27 April.
“Both horses travelled very well,” reported Mike de Kock on Monday. “They’re in the care of assistant trainer Trevor Brown and their grooms, Thomas and Shorty.”
Vercingetorix, relaxed after his trip from Dubai.
With Christophe Soumillon unavailable, Mike’s South African stable jockey Anthony Delpech will fly in to partner Vercingetorix. He is unbeaten on the South African-bred runner in two starts, one of which was the Gr1 Daily News.
Delpech is no stranger to Sha-Tin, having ridden in Hong Kong in the mid 2000s, winning a number of Gr1 races, including the 2005 QEII Cup on David Ferraris-trained Vengeance Of Rain.
Mike has booked ace Frenchman Olivier Delouze for the ride on Sanshaawes. He is another who has made Hong Kong his second home, booting home just under 500 winners here since 2005.
Sanshaawes, on his toes, stepping off the float.
Since his first AP QEII Cup runner Right Approach in 2004, Mike himself has sent at least one runner every year to participate in the showcase event. His past 12 AP QEII Cup runners have produced two winners and two runners up, with victories courtesy of Irridescence in 2006 and Archipenko in 2008.
All 12 had their final start before coming to Hong Kong in Dubai, with 11 of them in action on Dubai World Cup night. The sole exception was his 2006 AP QEII Cup winner Irridescence, as the mare won the listed Balanchine Stakes in February before gaining another success in HK.
Vercingetorix, 2nd in the Dubai Duty Free recently, has followed a similar path to De Kock’s 2008 AP QEII Cup winner Archipenko, who finished 3rd in the Dubai Duty Free.
Sanshaawes is taking the route of Dubai World Cup to AP QEII, as did Lizard’s Desire, who finished runner-up in both races in 2010. This offers some encouragement for Sanshaawes’ bid, although he will need to bounce back from a slightly disappointing effort in Dubai.
Mike will also be represented, a week later, in the Hong Kong Champions Mile by stable newcomer Variety Club who won the Godolphin Mile in Dubai from Soft Falling Rain. The Champions Mile will be the five-year-old’s first official start for the stable, who has had five previous shots at the race with Musir’s third-place in 2011 being the closest he has come to victory.
“Variety Club is in excellent condition, still in Dubai. He will be shipped to Hong Kong on Sunday,” Mike said.