MIKE DE KOCK
Jack Milner: With Dubai World Cup Night still two weeks away, Mike de Kock has taken a short break from his Meydan training duties and is back in South Africa.
He was very happy with the way things are both at home and away and celebrated the day with three wins at Turffontein and one in Abu Dhabi where Light The Lights won the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday.
Ridden by Adrie de Vries Light The Lights beat Janszoon by 0.75 lengths with third-placed Sharpalo another 1.25 lengths back and Earnshaw in fourth.
Previously trained by Glen Kotzen, Light The Lights won the Grade 2 Peninsula Handicap at Kenilworth two years ago before being exported.
“He’s been a stalwart, a soldier to the stable and to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. But they have rated him as a 111 and that is too high for him to win in Dubai with all the good horses there,” said De Kock.
“In this race he was the best handicapped runner. The fact that they raced at level weights and he beat a horse rated 100 by three-quarters of a length tells you he is not a genuine 111.”
De Vries had Light The Lights placed in mid-division and moved him up with 500m to run. He hit the front 150m out and ran on well to hold off Janszoon, who was running on well at the finish.
“Adrie rode a great race. He’s a really good jockey and he did a lot of work for us last year so I am happy to have rewarded him with a feature winner.” This was a third success in the UAE for Light The Lights.
Speaking about his runners this year in Dubai, De Kock admitted he does not have the strongest line-up in his yard right now.
“Under the circumstances they haven’t done badly. The one horse who has done well is Janoobi. He’s really come well.
“He will be running in the Dubai Turf on World Cup Night. It’s a strong field and I don’t think he can win but he is very capable of finishing in the places. It’s a $5 million race so a place is still good money,” said De Kock.
“He showed in his last race he does stay 1800m. They go faster in Dubai and I think that has helped him to settle. Unfortunately last time he was sitting third and then another horse took him on coming around the turn and that got him going.
“He was in front as they turned for home and he was still only beaten less than a length,” said De Kock.
His other runner will be SA Derby winner Al Sahem who will be running in the Grade 1 Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m. His last race was over 2410m at Meydan and he ran on well to finish fifth after looking well beaten at the top of the straight.
“Al Sahem has come on nicely but he is in a tough group,” said De Kock.