Viscount Nelson out to emulate Archipenko
South African trainer Mike De Kock has won the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup twice and, if parallels with his 2008 winner Archipenko hold true, he could make it three with Viscount Nelson at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Archipenko was an ex-Aidan O'Brien-trained entire, arriving race-fit after a Dubai carnival campaign and a last-start placing on World Cup night, triumphing in the QE II despite a lack of exposure at the top level.
There are striking similarities with Viscount Nelson, the five-year-old former O'Brien colt who is coming off a five-run campaign in the Emirates which culminated with a second to African Story in the Godolphin Mile.
According to De Kock's Dubai-based assistant Trevor Brown, who also travelled with Archipenko, the comparisons don't stop there.
'He's quite a character and always wants to fight in a gallop, he is very competitive,' Brown said. 'I enjoy the horse's attitude and he reminds me a lot of Archipenko.'
Viscount Nelson's biggest win was in February's Group Two Al Fahidi Fort (1,600m), the same race Archipenko won before a third in the Dubai Duty Free, but Brown admits 'This will be his true test. We've still got see if he is up to international Group One level, we haven't managed to test him properly in Dubai.'
After arriving late on Sunday night, Viscount Nelson was given a leisurely leg stretch on the all-weather track yesterday. Raceday jockey Kevin Shea, who rode Archipenko to his Hong Kong success, arrived last night and was due to give his mount a final serious turf gallop this morning.
Brown said he was leaving tactics to the trainer and jockey, but suggested alterations to the horse's usual hold-up pattern if necessary.
'A lot is going to depend on the draw,' he said. 'They don't always go a good gallop here ... you want to give him a chance and make sure it is a test for the 10 furlongs.
Treasure Beach was the last of the four international competitors to arrive, touching down yesterday afternoon, with the remaining two also reported to have settled in well.
Rulership was given two rounds of the all-weather track, and stable representative Mitsumasa Nakauchida said: 'He looks very well, and he is in the same sort of form as he was at home'.
Umberto Rispoli rides Rulership and has decided against extending his Jockey Club contract beyond Sunday, opting to head to France and link with trainer Mikel Delzangles.