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Queen’s Plate Start – De Kock ‘Speechless’

Start saga and ride fingered by champion trainer

Favourite Hawwaam finished fifth, beaten 3.30 lengths in Saturday’s Gr1 L’Ormarins Plate, starting at 5-10 after the earlier great success of stablemate Queen Supreme in the Gr1 Paddock Stakes.

Speaking on his website, www.mikedekockracing.com, Mike de Kock put the disappointing run down in the main to two factors – what happened at the start and “not a very good ride from Anton Marcus”.

The start of the race had a 25-minute delay as first the shoes of Pack Leader and Twist Of Fate had to be replaced and then both Do It Again and Hawwaam had to have their respective bridles refitted.

“The shenanigans at the start left me speechless,” said Mike. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s unprecedented, I’ve never seen anything like this.

“Why do these things never happen in maiden plates? These horses are temperamental and get very worked up at the start. Even Soqrat, who is the most laid- back horse you can get, was getting distressed at the start.  Callan Murray said that by the time Soqrat got to the gates he was sweating and shaking, and he ran accordingly (beaten almost nine lengths).

“Some horses can deal with things like these, others can’t. But that we have this happen in one of the top Grade 1 races in the country has left me gobsmacked.”

De Kock felt Marcus did not hold his place on the rail from No 1 draw and ended up going around Rainbow Bridge to take him on.

Had he stayed on the rail Hawwaam would have got cover.

“I suppose one just needs to put a line through this run. Hawwaam never settled for a second,” said Mike, adding: “But take nothing away from Vardy. He is a very good horse and he won a very good race. Congratulations to his connections.”

He concluded: “We have to draw a line through this, it is what is and we move on. Hawwaam pulled up sound. Nobody can really be blamed for what happened. I stood with the stipes before the start of the race and they were just as stressed as I were.”

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48 comments on “Queen’s Plate Start – De Kock ‘Speechless’

  1. Ashvin says:

    They set the horse up for failure. Conspiracy theory. Should be be investigated thoroughly. Punters have lost too much on this horse in two graded races.

  2. Ronny says:

    I agree Ashvin, Why must incidents happen at the start whenever Hawaam runs?

  3. Maddox says:

    Thats right conspiracy theory all the excuses under the sun. The horse is not anywhere near as good as he’s made out to be.

  4. Pops says:

    Before the race this is what Mike de Kock had to say about Hawwaam—. “I’m not concerned that he is coming back in distance. The good horses deal with it.

    “I’m also not concerned about the pace. He can run from the front and come from off the pace. He’s drawn No 1 so I’m just going to leave it up to Anton (Marcus). He’s a professional.”
    Does he now not agree with that?

  5. Dave says:

    So tell me planned that 2 horses would pull a shoe on the way to the start, conspiracy my arse.

  6. AD says:

    When the first horse was being re-shod (the time it took) you knew it was the start of issues….. Then the second horse 😂

  7. Seattle Slew says:

    Having lost the kitchen sink on Hawwaam yesterday, I still think he will bounce back and win the Met – he’s too good not to come back from yesterday’s effort. Between the delay at the start and the farcical lack of pace, his goose was cooked early on. The extra 400m of the Met will make all the difference.

    I must say that I’m a bit bewildered by some of the over-the-top comments below the various articles leading up to, and after. the race, ranging from “Hawwaam is unbeatable/best since Horse Chestnut” to “Hawwaam is useless/overrated”. The answer is surely more measured: he is a top horse, a multiple grade 1 winner who will won more races than he loses, but he still needs to land a few more big ones before he can be mentioned among the all-time greats. I have no doubt that the Sun Met will put him back on track to achieve that status.

    From a betting perspective, one will at least get slightly better odds on the Met now, although I still ex[ect him to go off a strong favourite come race day.

  8. John Vorster says:

    When problems at start began… hawaam was going to lose. Hes extremely sensetive. I’m afraid that a horse like that you can never actualy bet on. Due to fact to many factors can happen at start. Gates stick. Gets bumped etc etc.

  9. Ralph Fell. says:

    An arbitrary figure of 700+ races are screened on Tellytrack weekly. The Queen’s Plate constitutes an infinitessamal percentage of the aforesaid. Yet conspiracy theories abound, kitchen sinks get a mention, the jock gets castigated, by the trainer no less and the noble horse is denigrated. No mention of the other 699+ races taking place during the week. So for punters to get their knickers in a knot and possibly asking the Hawks to investigate beggars belief. There is money to be made in the 4th race at Penrith tomorrow and a lucky dip at Flamingo Park.


    The thing is that Hawwaan, Soqrat and Do it Again were in the smoking enclosure @ Kenilworth on Saturday.

    That’s why they were coughing

  11. PL.NEL says:

    MdK please remember the ride in the Met by this jock for Mrs S , yip the filly. Would rather have Warren or Gavin.

  12. Andrew says:

    Mike DeKock must dropped Marcus & get another jockey like Gavin Lerena .It is really suspicious that Hawwaam didn’t even run a place for such a short priced favourite . Guess who won the race trainer Adam Marcus . It’s all in the family . Why would Anton says that you must not written off Hawwaan because he knows he didn’t ridden out Hawwaam . It’s a nice excuse to use the starting for Hawwaam’s bad run. Stripes please investigate how Anton have ridden Hawwaam

  13. Owen says:

    Marcus, his nephew won the race, you in pole position why not stay on the rail

  14. Kay says:

    I guess most readers who comment are not from Cape Town as it is just unbelievable that almost all the hype is just around one horse even though he finished 5th and has never before faced a field the class of the Queens Plate. He was beaten by 4 Cape horses who already proved that they’re no slouches themselves yet Hawaam (who most believe is the only top horse in SA) is still being hailed the Met winner. And now conspiracies? Anton Marcus is world-class. Beforevthe race MdK sasy Superman is a professional and leave things to him and now after the race says Anton Marcus didnt ride the horse well? These things happen in racing and obviously on big days the tension is much higher hence chances of these kind of happenings are greater than an ordinary race meeting. Hawwaam is very good but the Queens Plate was laden with very good horses besides this beautiful Silvano colt. Hawwaam wil be back for sure but to have all excuses all the time and not giving credit to the winner is bad sportsmanship and sore losers. All trainers always hope for luck in running and that things pan out well. Great achievement from Adam Marcus and brilliantly ridden by Craig Zacky. Vardy is a top horse and once again proving that the Cape Winter Series is a nursery for future champions. Many high-class racers over the years came through the Winter Series, to mention a few…Winter Solstice, Trademark, Marinaresco, Pocket Power, etc. The SunMet will be a great spectacle to watch and hopefully (we all hope) that the event will be incident-free before, during and after the race. Well, like all posts on this forum, mine is only an opinion – my opinion and not necessary factual and same applies to everyone. Enjoy racing and if things don’t work out, move on and fight another day.

  15. Tracy Low says:

    Oh come on people how do u plan a pulled shoe….no sorry two horses pull shoes??? Empty pockets talk such rot.

  16. Nico says:

    Watching the race again, Anton had cover when Rainbow Bridge crossed over, then brought Hawaam out, took a slight bump against Undercover agent and never picked up, should have just stayed on the rail.

  17. jc lee ching says:

    Even great horses have a off day, give him another chance. I remember Past Master winning the Green Point then running badly in the Queens plate , then everyone wrote him off. He won the MET.

  18. Prasheen harrimohan says:

    Blah blah blah say what u guys want vardy is class and hawaam is ass that’s the bottom line I say it time and again he beat zilch before this now he faced the big boys. They had compared him to horse chestnut. Horse chestnut my ass. Hee is miles away from even being in hc shadow. Guys do me a favour and don’t waste money on hawaam in the met take the exacta rb and vardy top two in the race. Even Dia has had its day. Mike u are a good trainer maybe if you stop concentrating on going to other countries and worry about ur yard here your horses will win. You are the biggest problem in ur stable. Not the jocks. Be a man and take responsibility for ur actions.

  19. Loren D says:

    SP reports that MdK said that “I
    stood with the stipes before the start of the race and they were just as stressed as I were (sic).”

    I thought that the Stipes Boardroom was a prohibited area and not a Tea Room. It shows me that the Stipes are not impartial. MdK should not have been with the Stipes at the time. Since MdK was allowed to be with the Stipes all the other trainers should have been with them.

    Were the trainers whose horses pulled a shoe and whose bridals broke standing with the Stipes before the race? Nothing went wrong with Hawaam. I expect the trainers whose horses had these problems were invited into the Boardroom.

    Thanks to MdK for showing us that the Stipes do not give equal treatment to all horses and trainers.

  20. Sarvan says:

    I set a recording on my DSTV decoder for one minute before the race and 30mins after the scheduled off time. You can imagine how disappointed I was not to have a race to watch!. This is 3rd and 4th rate, how is it possible that we can get a normal run of the mill race on any other day right yet we mess up two of our biggest races i.e. the July and the Queens Plate?. This is not on, we look like clowns on the world stage. To the racing operators, get your act together and stop making us all look like fools. You are taking 25c from every punting rand, what you are doing is effecting stealing and not delivering time and time again!!!Despicable.!!!

  21. Tefo Montsho says:

    SA racing especially Turffontein is looting money from us using Dekock’s horses, that is why his horses are always favorites. Remember Ilhadavictoria was always running second but at least was given a good ride by Mawing.

  22. Brian says:

    I don’t believe for one minute there was a conspiracy or anything like that. Maybe it was simply not Hawaam’s day.

    However, in a race of this standing there can be no excuses. None!

    The fact remains this does affect not only the horse but the jockey’s preparation in terms of focus etc as well.

    To say ,”well, things happen” , is not on

    Make sure it doesn’t!

  23. Simeon says:

    I was very disappoint with of what happen at the start and how they stress out HawaaM at the start.. HE WAS CALM BUT WHEN THE RACE START I CAN SEE NO WAY HE LOOK NOT GOOD . THE RACING MUST CHANGE THE THINGS BEING DONE FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS NEW IDEAS IN A CHANGING TIME .. VIVA HAWAAM

  24. Leon says:

    I been in racing a long time not a punter….every time hawwmm runs gets beat.. There is always a so called conspiracy or this or that… Bottom line the shit started at the stalls.. From two shoe.. To bridal checks… In a big race its a important factor to make sure each horse has a equal chance when it comes to quipment shoes etc…you cannot compare a maiden race.. Plus this has happened in alot of races.. The doom sayers are just focusing on hawwamm group one.. Now its a conspiracy. Mike de kock is right in saying the trouble at the start took forever.. Who knows why it took so long long…maybe two farries was needed.. This affected some horses and .. Hawwmm is uptight.. This may have cost him the race or place… Him also being skittish… Mike is correct in saying draw one stay on rail.. A blind man should knows this.. Small field midfield or back.. Shortest route home.. Anton is a great jock.. In big races they to panic under pressure and can make mistakes.. His should have jumped sit on rail.. Patience going around cost him more work to do… Mike is not slating anton.. Hes giving his view of what he thinks was better.. Saying anton should have stuck to the rail.. He should be professional to know this.. Yet as i said pressure gets to all.. Including the horse.. Mike left it in antons hands as he knows the horse… But he did the wrong thing in the trainers opinion … No disrespect to him.. Just pressure to win.. Especially after the start he must have panicked to its normal.. Its easy to slate jocks.. Which i hate but its easy to spot a mistake. Imagine you know how good your horse is and all this crap went down from beginning to end it is devistating.. As if this never happened who knows.. Vardy is a incredible horse.. And mike did say well done hes not one to be malicious.. He does not rely on hawwamm to be mike de kock.. He is a straight shooter and one of the best in the world.. Its his owners.. His confidence in his horse.. So this conspiracy nonsense because you lost your money imagine the owner and trainer.. Lets leave it to the next run.. Before you count your chick’s before they hatch.. STOP and think look know.. Read a race… If you cant dont chirp simple race is done dusted happy for marcus.. And move on

  25. gavin says:

    people gavin lerena also gave haawaan a shocking ride when national park beat him.. this poor has been subjected to 2 shocking rides …

  26. Maddox says:

    So Hawwaam was the only horse to suffer “inconvenience” at the start? Excuses, excuses, excuses. The jockey, the pace, the start.
    He was beaten fair and square and punters and racegoers should acknowledge that. He’s not good enough.

  27. Maddox says:

    So Hawwaam was the only horse that was “inconvenienced” at the start. Excuses, excuses, excuses. The start, the jockey, the pace, he’s got piles, whatever. He was beaten fair and square and accept that he’s s not as good as he is made out to be. Move on.

  28. ALAN says:

    all the nonsense about a bad ride from mr marcus unbelievable from mike de kock. THE HORSE IS OVERATED END OF STORY. if he was this unbeatable star he would have been in dubai or england. its a case of ducks being turned into swans.
    As for mr andrew bon and all his absolute bs one moment he cant see hawaam getting beat the next thing he is calling vardy a star. what guys wont do to get a free trip to epsom for the derby. its disgusting.
    i notice when mr de kocks filly won he was quick to point out how she was working like a 5 furlong horse, pity this info was not forth coming before hand.
    would not surprise me to see anton riding vardy in the met.
    never thought i would hear mike de kock slinging off as he did SAD

  29. Leon says:

    Here we go again opening a can of worms.. Did mike make a statment after gavin got beat.. I dont think so hes no idiot and can read a race. Because its hawaam every single punter has a go.. WAIT AND SEE WHAT DE KOCK DECIDES AND LEAVE IT FOR THE NEXT RUN.. IF HE WINS..?? WHAT THEN? OR LOOSES WHAT THEN?.. YOU WILL ALWAYS GET OPPO BUT SOME ARE FROM MARS 🙈 STAY AWAY FROM PUNTING HIM SIMPLE

  30. RJ says:

    Looking at the race while it was in progress one could notice that Anton sat very awkwardly on the horse. This is definitely not his usual style of riding. Maybe Anton can give an explanation.

  31. Conman says:

    M.D.k take Hawaam to Flamingo park

  32. Michael says:

    Bottom line, the best horse won, don’t know which race course in the country Vardy was at the start because most the comments are just about Hawaam being affected. Vardy is also a horse! and he didn’t just win by a head,neck ,etc , everyone who watched the race saw how he won and the position that he was in turning for home.
    Hawaam is not Frankel, He was always gonna get beat

  33. Wayne says:

    To everyone that believes Hawwaam is not good enough. I draw you to the form guide. Using Twist of fate as the line horse it is clear that Hawwaam ran way below his capability. In the Daily news Twist of fate ran 1.5 lengths behind Hawwaam whilst Hawwaam was heavily eased in the last 200m. Then 3 weeks ago in the Premiers he ran 5 lengths behind Hawwaam whilst receiving 1kg from him.

    On form Twist of fate is about 4 to 5 lengths behind Hawwaam at level weights. How he can run 1.2 lengths ahead of him confirms that the form of this race is not correct. I for one will definitely not be following this race form when making my Met selections.

    Hawwaams form has stood out. Remember Chimichuri run has run behind him and won a tough race on Met day.

    Only a fool would write off Hawwaam based on this run. If he runs to form, I have no doubt that nothing in this country can go with him

  34. Kessie says:

    Gents, I suggest you all have a look at the LQP race again
    Barring the 25min delay, Hawaam would have still won this race, why because he’s a super horse.
    But if you see what Anton was doing during the race, he was actually making the horse unsettled, because this horse has a turn of speed like to other horse in that field.
    My personal opinion the Stipes should look into the riding of Hawaam.
    The South African public is being cheated, with jockeys and officials not doing their job properly.
    We as punters love this game, if it wasn’t for us punters there would be no horseracing in SA.
    All I want to say is this is happening all the time and no one seems to paying much attention to the avid punter, which is the key to keeping horse racing alive in this country.
    Owners, sponsors and punters pour in a lot of money into this game and to have these corrupt official and jockeys perform below par is not acceptable.
    Hawaam’s failure was definitely planned, it’s just we has punters bears the brunt.
    If this carries on like this I can assure you that South African racing will be doom.

  35. Luckypiet59 says:

    The short and sweet is!!! Hawaam wasn’t suppose to win the Queens Plate!!! He is going for the Met!!! Punters lost BIG time and Hawaams betting was madness!! He never raced against such quality horses. But again, the Marcus factor, Saturday 5/10-lost. Sunday 4/10- lost!!! Isn’t Marcus riding for the bookies perhaps???? I’ve lost thousands on Marcus over the years. JUST MY OBSERVATION.

  36. Graham HJ. says:

    Does no one understand with the huge amounts of money involved in races like this that it cannot be overlooked as “conspiracy theories” ( thats what the elite bank on )….This is not the first time and it seems that this will now be a pattern. I have said before races are won and lost at the stalls ( it happened to my horse and even more so in features ). the fact that a race can be manipulated in many ways and with this type of money floating around then every trick will be used I am sure. Its funny how the industry is all very quiet about this and lots of other things….Why ? because its all crooked, the whole lot it’s just in different levels thats all. They will; keep getting away with all this crap as long as there is no accountability or investigation into anything “dodgy”……I said when the 50/1 shots started arriving more regularly especially the double and trebles of the day but don’t investigate… its all good. Now they are happening all the time as if it is the norm now…..which it is…..The P6 paying for the feature day pots sucked from the punter……I see Flamingo is at 311K…..soon under 299K and the bubble gum racing during the week will soon follow. The punter is sick of being taken for a ride for a few elite to keep ripping the guts out of racing for their own greed…..I knew my Hawaam bets were shot as soon I heard the first shoe was off……I just laughed knowing what was coming….they did a proper job on the LQP….

  37. Michael Jacobs says:

    I think there is too much negativity going on here. I said before the race i would reserve judgement on Hawwaam until he proves himself in topclass company. Well he ran against topclass company and he did not perform. Why people backed him confounds me. He should not have been backed into the red, as he was at best an even money chance to win the race, but 15/10 was value, hence people should have steered well clear at odds-on. He might well win the Met as he looks like a 2000m horse (like his brother Rainbow Bridge, who also could not win this race last year)

    But once again, i will not banker Hawwaam in the Met, but include him in all exotics. Punters go after the hype and hysteria but when the horse loses (as I expected it too), there is ringing of hands and gnashing of teeth!

  38. Donald says:

    There is an old adage in horse racing and it is surprising how often it is a truism ” IN THE RED YOU DEAD ” !

    I will never touch a horse in the red except to maybe banker it in a P.A. for two simple reasons one is the above adage and more importantly there is ” NO VALUE FOR MONEY ” in a horse that is in the red !

    Another old adage while I am here ” IT CAN WIN WITHOUT MY MONEY ” !

  39. Deezo Snyman says:

    Vardy won fair and square. Moving forward, I cannot wait for the MET. Rematch and this will settle all the conspiracy theories. MDK, you are a legend world over and Marcus, you the grestest ever jockey in S. A. There is nothing more to prove. Sour grapes if you got bust in the PA by Front and Centre and Hawwaam. Great champs always get up from the canvass when they knocked down. Mohammed Ali proved and likewise will Hawwaam, Superman and MDK.

  40. Shaun says:

    Imagine if Horse Chestnut had run with a delay he would have won by a greater margin, he was a champion in his own rights. Please gentman we have a horsewho has won the July twice and others won more grade 1’s and the new fellow on the block who won well, the sky is the limit with the Met and hopefully it will be as good as it looks without the drama.

  41. Andre says:

    In 2011 Past Master also had a shocking run in the Queens Plate and was writtem off for the Met that year but won for Darryl Hodgson and Hassan Adams. Punters have short memories. Beware historu dies repeat itself.. In this instance with Hawaam.

    On another point why do so many of our horses get reshod at the start.? Only in SA is this a regular occurance. Would like to know the stats if they are available.

  42. IAN says:

    Marcus not everyone’s favourite jockey but he’s not a machine (and neither are horses) and could have just had a bad ride. But MdK showed little class in criticizing Marcus publicly – if he thought it was a bad ride, take the guy to one side and have it out with him. Don’t pillory the guy in front of the world.

  43. Kuben says:

    Hawaam should have just been scratched at the start..

  44. Pieta says:

    Wow, how privileged is this guy MDK ?…..getting to stand next to the stripes….wonder why?…..or maybe he forgot to book a table?
    Not sure if he will be able to be as fortunate in AUS.

  45. Richard Letwaba says:

    Emotions can disturb thinking. Callan was selfish to get into the stall with a sweating & shaking horse without reporting. I remember horses being put down after the race all because jockeys can’t accept losing opportunity to participate. Love them b4 u ride them.
    Imagine the performance of Russians if comrades marathon was held in December. 30 min on track b4 the race would only suit Cape horses. Not only Hawwaam but Highveld horses were doomed. I don’t mean they could have beaten Vardy, only their form on the race cannot b used to assess their ability. I hope such occurrence doesn’t discourage trainers coming down. Vardy is a Var & from a mare by Jet Master, he is the best from 1200- 1800m from a breeding perspective. I encourage connections to concentrate on 1600m.
    Murcus is the best. I watched replays & realised that Rainbow Bridge made life difficult 4 Murcus.until turning 4 home. 1st he rushed in front of Hawwaam bumping him b4 getting position drunken style. 2nd Gavin couldn’t contain him 2 travel @ consistent speed, hampering Hawwaam who used a lot of energy to contain that. Murcus had to switch 2 avoid the circus in front of him, which cost him 2 loose 3 lengths from the drunken master. I defend him on the rail issue. He always wants 2 keep healthy relationship with owners so I disagree with bookmakers allegation.

    As for Hawwaam, am surprised a lot of people still can’t understand him. He is more of a defensive bully than a racehorse, short temper & stubborn. Just keep him far away from the action, don’t bother him, don’t do anything by force, just leave him in peace. If the race itself is full of drama, take him to the outside earlier, don’t allow him 2 put up with it. If horses were boxing, he would b world champion. My advise to the connections, if u get inside draw, take him to the front & get rails, 4 outside draw, let him stay out, he will do the extra work.
    I lost on him 2 but I won’t blame any1. I hoped him & Vardy were fighting out the finish although somehow I don’t like Zackey’s ride on him. Watch his penultimate head on u will wish u had a former jockey called Guillermo Figueroa.2 ride this 1.
    Its all in the past now let’s move forward & good luck 4 the Met.

  46. Nash says:

    Guys say what you want horses may loose their way,but not their potential having champions getting beat and new ones rising is good for racing I’m a punter and I love this game so let’s take it on the chin and let’s box another day we still have a rivalry race which is the ‘met’ let the hooooos and haaahs be resolved and then we witness the true champion for the cape season and I’m pretty sure’ that what happened in the qp start won’t happen in met.

    So my dear colleagues all this rantings what should have and would have had already happened move on. We all lose more that we win and yet we complain everyday about the sport and unfairness and still back for more everyday, I moved on from hawwaam poor run.The question remains Are you a fan or not? MDk is thorough professional that man’s cv and accolades speaks for its self if he believe hawwaam is a champion, And I qoute at an interview Anton mentioned the ‘World is his Oyster’ surely that makes a loud enough noise. Anton himself riding rb and Dia and knowing how good Vardy.

    He will be back!!!!!!!
    And this time with a price.
    Get your money back in the Met!!!!!!

  47. Michael Jacobs says:

    Frankie Zackey may not know too much sbout what constitutes class and/or quality in a racehorse, but for 3 weeks leading up to the LQP he certainly kept us entertained

  48. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…MJ when one can spot champions from watching their 1st run irrespective of where they run and they go on to prove you right time after time then one must stand up and take serious note..Then once you get to that level along with the understanding of how to read a outcome of a race and understand what transpired MJ,, only then i’ll gladly entertain you further I promise…Now get to your local bookmaker asap tomorrow and take you 30 or 40 bucks and have it on the Met winner…i really need end this now,,still got 4 races to complete for Scottsville tomorrow with this new format it takes so much extra time to complete a race,,thank God Formgrids is up and running again as normal I just hope and pray now they stop hacking the site dammit enough is enough

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