DIANE and Mathew de Kock were thinking of shipping a copy of their “Advanced Sand Training Manual” to the Boss in Dubai following the home team’s winning double on sand at the Vaal on Thursday afternoon and the evening’s several disappointments on Meydan’s sand track.
The express courier service to the UAE was cancelled on Friday morning when Di and Mat considered that while Mike can handle a joke at his own expense, he always gets his own back with double interest! Also, Mike is still pondering the matter and further to our website review of the opening Dubai Carnival meeting he sent another note, saying that, “…expectations are high, but people forget that horses either love the sand or hate it!”
To illustrate his point Mike recalled two incidents that will ring a bell with most racing fans:
When the yard’s then six-year-old gelding Wolf Whistle arrived in Dubai after his sensational 2004 Summer Cup win, he made his debut over a mile on sand at Nad Al Sheba on 20 January 2005. Wolf Whistle intensely disliked every inch of the trip and jockey Kevin Shea pulled the normally unflustered powerhouse out of the race with 400m to go – they came in last, beaten 23 lengths. Just a week later, however, Wolf Whistle bounced back to his best. He engaged a subsequent Gr 2 winner in one of his trademark duels and gained the upper hand late to win a handicap on turf over 1777m in course record time!
Star sprinter JJ The Jet Plane also packed it up long before the finish in his own dirt debut at Meydan on 12 February 2009. His legion of fans almost “did their nuts” when an uncharacteristically lacklustre “JJ” trailed in near 15 lengths behind the winner. Two weeks later he won the Gr3 Al Quoz Sprint on turf!
Mike congratulated his wife and son on the wins of four-year-old filly Silent Force (Horse Chestnut), who races in Diane’s silks and four-year-old gelding Tiger Territory (Trippi), the versatile and bang-in-form sprinter owned by partners Ivan Snyman, Alan Mikhail and Mike Wittstock. He complimented young Akash Aucharuz on his confident handling of both winners and said: “Akash puts his head down and he rides them hard, I like him!”
A sand double for the stable and 2013/14 SA Champion Apprentice Akash Aucharuz: Tiger Territory wins another impressive race for his enthusiastic owners.