De Kock seeks to end Singapore drought with Oracle West
South African trainer Mike de Kock has already conquered Dubai and Hong Kong on his international forays and plans to raise the stable flag in Singapore for the first time this weekend with his unlucky Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup contender Oracle West.
This will be De Kock's fourth assault on Sunday's S$3 million (HK$15.5 million) Singapore Airlines International Cup but he is poised to land his maiden win in the island republic as Oracle West warned with a startling piece of work at Kranji yesterday. The striking five-year-old trotted a lap of the course proper before picking up the speed from the 1,000 metres, quickening to run his final 600m in 36.2 seconds.
Caretaker trainer Patrick Shaw had a glowing report for De Kock, who is currently in South Africa, and then declared the gelding, the highest-rated runner in Sunday's feature, the horse to beat.
'I have no doubt he is the class horse of the race and everything has gone smoothly since his Hong Kong run,' said Shaw, who will also saddle up War Horn and Setembro Chove.
'By all reports his preparation wasn't 100 per cent heading into the QE II at Sha Tin but there are no negatives this time and he'll be the one they all have to beat.'
Oracle West was outstanding in finishing second to Vengeance Of Rain in the US$5 million Sheema Classic in Dubai before running sixth to Viva Pataca in the QE II at Sha Tin when caught off the track throughout. De Kock's best result in Singapore's biggest race came back in 2004 when Surveyor ran second to the Andreas Schutz-trained Epalo.