Russian Sage goes to De Kock

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Russian Sage goes to De Kock

Mike de Kock

<p>MIKE de Kock Racing has announced that Mike de Kock will train Russian Sage in the United Arab Emirates next season with the $5-million Dubai Duty Free as his main objective at the Dubai Winter Carnival.</p>

<p>Prior to an unplaced finish last time out in the G1 Durban July, when he set the pace in a field of 20 after breaking from post position 19, the son of leading sire Jallad had racked up five wins and twp seconds in his previous seven starts this season, numbering G1 wins in the Cape of Good Hope Derby and the Daily News 2000, the latter under new ownership.</p> <p>Barry Irwin, whose Team Valor International formed a partnership to buy Russian Sage that includes National Horse Racing Authority chairman Larry Nestadt and Hollywood motion picture producer Gary Barber, said: &quot;We discussed the options going forward and decided to patch things up with Mike, because he has always done the best job for us and we want the best for this colt.&quot;</p> <p>Irwin and De Kock had a blow up the year before last, in which they parted ways, but Russian Sage has served to bring them together again.</p> <p>&quot;Mike and the colt&rsquo;s trainer Justin Snaith have a good relationship, so we expect the transition to be a smooth one,&quot; Irwin said. &quot;I know that our team is really excited to be back with Mike and we really look forward to racing this colt not only in Dubai, but internationally as well.</p> <p>&quot;Team Valor tried to buy both Jay Peg and Sun Classique last year and failed in both instances. They went on to Dubai to win the $5 million Sheema Classic and Dubai Duty Free, which served only to further whet our appetite for more international glory.</p> <p>&quot;We hope that we are giving Mike a tool that he can employ to make an impression in the Duty Free.&quot;</p> <p>At the 2008 Dubai World Cup, De Kock dominated on World Cup night, winning the Sheema Classic, running 1-2 in the UAE Derby and running second in the World Cup.</p> <p>De Kock, speaking from the UK, said: &quot;Russian Sage is an exciting prospect that will strengthen our already formidable Dubai team for 2009.”</p> <p>Snaith commented: &quot;We have decided to keep Dancer’s Daughter in South Africa for now so it doesn’t make sense for me to go to Dubai with a single runner, although Russian Sage is a fantasic horse. I have things going the way I want to here in South Africa and can plan a Dubai campaign at a later stage, perhaps when my father returns from his stint in Saudi Arabia.&quot;</p>

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