AN unusually busy international campaign saw Mike de Kock travelling to the USA, the UK, Dubai and Australia any number of times in the latter part of 2014 and in the first half of 2015, but as always his team of assistant trainers, grooms and jockeys based at home in South Africa kept the winners ticking over.
At the end of the 2014/15 South African season, Mike de Kock Racing in South Africa had racked up 153 winners (17% strike rate) and R19,61-million in gross stake earnings. This was a fourth-best stakes performance for the stable all-time but fell short of a South African record R25-million and change set by new Champion Trainer Sean Tarry, who lifted his first National Title.
Alboran Sea (black, red silks), beating Carry On Alice (left) and Captain Of All in the Gr1 2015 Computaform Sprint.
At the weekend Mike congratulated Tarry, first-time Champion Jockey Gavin Lerena and Champion Breeders Klawervlei Stud, who edged out Summerhill for a second year running. Mike commented: “The respective champions have always set the highest standards for themselves. They deserve the success they’ve achieved, they’ve raised the bar for the next round of championships.”
The stable notched eight Gr1 victories in the 2014/15 season, one of its best local seasons in recent years and Mike said: “I have to thank my teams in Johannesburg and Durban for their dedication and hard work. This has been an extra telling spell for us with Mubtaahij having to travel to the US, but my team proved again that they are world-class – they saddled a number of Graded wins in my absence and kept everything running smoothly as usual. I say it every year and I will say it again: You’re only as good as the team behind you and I am very thankful for mine!”
Mike also thanked the stable’s patrons for ongoing support and said: “Our owners are the backbone of the stable.”
The season’s big wins included Gr 1 doubles recorded by Majmu (Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas, Empress Club Stakes); and Alboran Sea (Gr1 Cape Flying Championship, Computaform Sprint), which will leave the 2014/15 Equus Awards Panel with plenty to chew on before this year’s winners are announced later this week.
Majmu and Alboran Sea have both been nominated in the category of Champion 3-y-old filly (distance immaterial) and it will be interesting to see which way the sentiments go as the Equus Champion racehorses of various categories are decided by “collective opinions of the Equus panelists”.
Alboran Sea also shares a Champion Sprinter nomination with Captain Of All and Carry On Alice and if highest-level performances on black-and-white is the yardstick, she’s a shoe-in, arguably. Aloboran Sea defeated Captain Of All on both occasions they crossed swords. She lowered the colours of Carry On Alice in the Cape Flying Championship and the Computaform Sprint before Carry On Alice reversed placings in the SA Fillies Sprint when Alboran Sea suffered an injury during the running of the race.
The stable’s Gr1 winners for the 2014/15 season:
Majmu Cape Fillies Guineas- A Delpech
Alboran Sea Cape Flying Championship – W Marwing
Ertijaal Cape Derby – G Lerena
Majmu Empress Club Stakes – A Delpech
Alboran Sea Computaform Sprint – A Delpech
Pine Princess SA Oaks – A Delpech
Entisaar Allan Roberston Championship – J Geroudis
Wild One Gold Cup – A Delpech