MIKE de Kock has a few options with Soqrat after his stunning win under 62kg in Saturday’s Gr3 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m at the Vaal. However, due to a reported case of African Horse Sickness in Gauteng, no firm decisions for Soqrat can be made yet, as travel restrictions to Cape Town will be in place for the time being.
De Kock said on Sunday: “One horse within 30km away from Randjesfontein has been reported with AHS. It’s a non-contagious disease, but evidently part of the protocol suggests that horses from Randjesfontein cannot be moved if another horse in a 30km radius has contracted AHS. It boggles my mind!”
“I agree with all the other protocols we have in place, but I’m not sure of the science behind this. A horse in stable box one at Randjes can get AHS and the horse in box two won’t have it.
We’ve done our vaccinations; our horses are in a fairly sterile environment. We’ve put systems in place and we’ve done everything right, we notify of horse movement. But it’s almost bizarre that a whole industry like racing can be held back now, for example, by a farm animal 30km away from us.
“The whole Cape season can be turned upside down with horses from Johannesburg not being able to travel. For us to be held back like this seems unfair and it will be disastrous for the Cape season. If you look at the participation of the Joburg runners in previous seasons, it is vital that we are there to compete and add value. Last year horses trained by Sean Tarry and I made up half of the Guineas field.”
He said that Soqrat was “very impressive” and added: “He may have raced in lesser company but he gave 11kg to a horse that won fluently last time, we had to be impressed.
“As for the Summer Cup, I am not sure whether Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold would want to take on Barahin with Soqrat. We’d like to get a Gr1 win from Barahin, and it won’t be ideal to take him on with their own horse.
“Soqrat has the Cape option, the WSB Green Point Stakes is a nice target for him, so my gut feel says that the Green Point is the race he will go for. However, if he has to stay in Johannesburg the Summer Cup will become a tempting race to go for.”