De Kock's Archipenko all set for big run
South African Mike de Kock has quickly become one of the world's very best travelling trainers, so when he turns up for the Audemars Piquet QE II Cup with what he calls a 'fair degree of confidence' for Archipenko, it's worth taking notice.
De Kock was the star of World Cup night in Dubai last month, winning more than US$6 million in prize money with a number of minor placings and wins in the UAE Derby and Dubai Sheema Classic, where Viva Pataca was downed by Sun Classique.
It has been a familiar refrain at Nad Al Sheba on the big night for several years and he is hardly a stranger to getting it right at Sha Tin, either, saddling up Grey's Inn for second in the 2005 QE II Cup before going one better with Irridescence two years ago.
Archipenko looked the unlucky runner of the Dubai Duty Free when third to Jay Peg after being held up in the final stages, but De Kock (pictured) puts it down to the four-year-old's immaturity.
'He went for the run up the fence and. where he went, there was a gap, but he just wasn't that keen to take it,' he explained yesterday.
'Archipenko has only had 11 starts and I haven't got to the bottom of him yet. He still ran a bit free in Dubai and lacked experience but I think once he gets his head around the racing game, he's going to be an awesome horse.
'That's why I wasn't unhappy to draw out - on what he showed in Dubai, I'm happier with him having plenty of room out there.'
Confident of a good showing, De Kock still wasn't making any comparisons with Sun Classique, the filly he has now targeted for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at year's end and who gives him a yardstick on Sunday's task.
'Viva Pataca and Quijano finished second and fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic but I'm not saying at this stage that Archipenko is the same as Sun Classique,' he said.
'Viva Pataca is back to his home ground, too, so he has to be hard to beat. Still, I think my horse will be competitive. Everything has gone well, he travelled well and has done well.'