Greys lights up De Kock's day with strong workout
Few, if any, trainers have made a better international impression in the past two years than South African Mike de Kock, who was a feature of the Dubai carnival again this year. Yesterday the trainer squeezed his Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup runner Greys Inn to see just what he had.
'I wanted him to have a hard gallop today - no particular reason, that's just how I train him,' said a satisfied De Kock after watching Weichong Marwing put the blowtorch to Greys Inn over the final stages of his mile workout. 'Weichong was happy with how he went and felt. That's his last piece of strong work and he'll probably only have a bit of a sprint between now and the race.'
Greys Inn left no doubt he is on song as he broke 22 seconds for his final 400 metres of the solid workout, but De Kock, who saddled up Right Approach to finish fifth in the QEII Cup after winning the Dubai Duty Free last year, knows he is swimming in deep waters.
'This is a tough race. All the international horses in the barn look well and the Hong Kong horses are solid. But I'm happy that there do look to be horses that race forward in it so we should get the right kind of speed. The German horse, Epalo goes forward and I get the impression that horses like Grand Armee and Elvstroem go forward and are horses who will be happy to keep the pressure on,' De Kock said as he dismissed Greys Inn's Dubai defeat behind QEII Cup rival Phoenix Reach in the Sheema Classic (2,400m).
On that occasion, Phoenix Reach was able to sprint off the slow pace after enjoying a nice run nearer the inside while Greys Inn was wide and never a factor but battled strongly into fourth.
'The race in Dubai was simply no guide to the horse. It was very slowly run and this horse needs a good gallop - he can't sprint off a canter,' De Kock said. 'He was caught wide, he had no cover. Really the race just went against him in so many ways you just have to forget it.'
Greys Inn is a Derby winner in South Africa at 2,450m and won a Group Three in Dubai at 2,400m prior to the Sheema Classic, but De Kock has no doubt that the Zabeel stallion will be seen at his best over Sunday's trip.
'Because he really wants a good pace, it follows that he is probably a better horse at 2,000m, where he'd be more likely to get the right speed, even though he has won at longer,' De Kock said.