Mike de Kock’s dream of winning a race that has eluded him for many a long year has taken a sobering left hook with the news that Hall Of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has decided to travel to Dubai with Gr1 Pegasus World Cup winner Arrogate.
De Kock has never shied away from taking on the best and after his 2016 Dubai World Cup runner-up Mubtaahij prepped beautifully last Thursday – after a long break – with a second in the Curlin Handicap, 2017 looked to be the multiple SA champion conditioner’s year to lift the $10 million Gr1 Dubai World Cup trophy.
The 4yo Arrogate burst on to the scene with a powerhouse wire-to-wire score in the GrI Travers Stakes at Saratoga last August and added a win over 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome at the World Championships at Santa Anita in November, before beating the now retired champion again in the Pegasus at end January.
After an impressive workout on Monday at Santa Anita, where he clocked a mile in 1:38.40, a thrilled Baffert said that he would travel for the Dubai World Cup on 25 March, together with 2016 DWC third placed Hoppertunity.
Mubtaahij will not have another run before the big night.