Mike de Kock’s aspirations for the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival suffered a setback due to the ban on exports following an outbreak of African horse sickness last year, but he still has a powerful team assembled in the desert.
He returned from the UAE and said recently: “That we’ve had to leave horses like Igugu in South Africa due to the export protocol was a setback, but I’m pleased to say that we have a few exciting new contenders and some of our old, hard-knocking runners to represent us. There is scope for a good Carnival.’’
On his website, mikedekockracing.com, he discussed his Dubai string:
Anearobio (Arg) arrived lame last season and we weren’t able to train him at all, but he’s turned the corner, he’s come well. He is a former Champion Two-Year-Old in Argentina and is a horse with ability who punters can follow.
Bold Silvano (antepost favourite for the 2011 Dubai World Cup but injured and did not run) is extremely well and has been in full work for a while. He is doing what we’re expecting of him and is one of our Dubai World Cup hopefuls.
Champagne Reef finished third in England in his only start and represents the “Vikings’’, Erik Lobben and his partners from Norway.
Disa Leader joined us from trainer Gilbert Rousset in Mauritius and we’re hoping the Mauritian form stands up like it did with Mr Brock. Johnny Geroudis will be coming to Dubai to ride him.
Enjoy Dubai (Arg) won a Group 3 sprint in Argentina for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.
Happy Valley fell apart during last year’s Carnival but is another who has blossomed during his time off. He’s a different horse now and we’re expecting a much better season from him.
Hunting Tower – the old horse is still enjoying Dubai. He’s working very well and will be trying his best.
Irish Flame couldn’t get into the Hong Kong race we had planned for him, but he’s a different horse to last season and should also stand his ground.
King Of Rome – same old, same old. We’ll try with him again; he has some fair Dubai form to his name.
Mahbooba enjoyed a successful season in Europe, she’s fresh and looking good, working well.
We got Master Of Hounds from trainer Aiden O’Brien and he’s impressed us. He is talented and his work is good. He finished second in the UAE Derby and fifth in the Kentucky Derby and is a horse with plenty of potential.
It seems age has done nothing to old warrior Mr Brock. He is as lively and happy as he was at two and should have another good Carnival.
Musir is also back in Dubai after a very good season in England and Turkey. We might switch him to grass at Meydan and he is likely to be as competitive as always.
Mutahadee was formerly trained by Fuzzy Stack in Ireland where he raced successfully and was Group 3 placed. He’s a nice sort to race over a mile (1600m) and further.
Reem didn’t have a good season in Europe, but should do better back in Dubai. Is likely to go for all-weather handicaps, but may also be switched to grass.
Rerouted was the pacemaker for Frankel and has some good form. We bought him as a fun horse for a partnership including myself, Bernard Kantor, Larry Nestadt, Lee Westwood, Chubby Chandler, Dr John McVeigh and Jehan Malherbe and we’ll see how he goes.
River Jetez was successful in Singapore, Europe and the USA this year and she’s back in Dubai, rising nine. I haven’t ever trained a mare as old as this and they can be tricky to assess, but she’s well and we’ll be holding thumbs she can have another big Carnival.
Star Empire won in Dubai last season and looks a better horse this time round.
We’re leasing Viscount Nelson from Coolmore for a few mates. He’s had more problems than the Greek economy but has some great early form and is sound now. He could be anything and we’re quite excited about him.
War Artist is in line for an attendance record at the Carnival and has been successful here. He’s owned by Rupert Plersch and is a year older now, but if he can regain his old sparkle he will be effective.
Warsaw also has a few Carnivals behind him but has been competitive and we’ll be looking for handicaps on the all-weather track.
Eight-year-old Wonder Lawn (won a race and placed another four times in handicaps during the 2011 Carnival) also falls in the “same old’’ category but is also in good shape. If he reproduces his sparkle from last season he will earn again next season.
Zanzamar (won the UAE 2000 Guineas trial and placed in both the UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby) had joint surgery after last year’s Carnival and is doing fine. We’re expecting more from him in 2012, he’s a very capable horse.
Mikdaan is a maiden winner by Dubawi from Richard Fahey’s stable in the UK and looks to have the potential to win more races.