MIKE DE KOCK
Mike de Kock has lauded the support of Dubai’s ruling family for South African racing and breeding – in the aftermath of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum’s record-breaking R9-million purchase of a colt at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale on Wednesday.
“What we have to overplay is the support of not only Sheikh Hamdan but his cousin Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa in South African racing. It’s a huge impact they have on the game here,” said De Kock, who undertook the sensational bidding battle for Silvano’s son colt Misaki on behalf of Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell operation.
The trainer pointed out that members of the Al Maktoum family have been buying thoroughbreds in and for South Africa for many years – and even more so in recent times – and have “changed the game” in this country.
“They have also been great hosts to South African thoroughbreds and horseman in Dubai,” he said.
Explaining the sensational purchase on Day 1 of the NYS, the trainer said: “Sheikh Hamdan’s instruction was to buy what I really liked – and good horses don’t come cheap. He was the colt me and my buying team put in the top three on the sale, so we went for it.
“If one puts it into international value it’s less than what we pay in Australia and other international sales.
“Sheik Hamdan is into the game of making stallions and that’s what we hope to have here.
“This purchase is huge for the confidence of the industry in no uncertain terms. It even impacts the levels of confidence of the grooms – as you may have seen in pictures on social media.”
Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold also came in for praise. “He understands the South African racing scene and the southern hemisphere thoroughbred and we work well as a team through Shadwell South Africa.
“One only wonders what level South African racing can achieve if we are given a chance to trade on a level playing field,” added De Kock.
“The underbidders, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, are here and have shown the potential of international buyers in a South African market. Their support is invaluable. They have been here the last two years so we can’t underestimate the importance of them being here. This is another illustration of the South African market and the potential if exports open up.”