By Jon Lees
South Africa: Mike De Kock’s plans to set up a satellite training operation in Australia have been set back by new rules which mean star colt Hawwaam spending more than nine months trying to get there.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned horse was due to head to Australia as one of the first horses to join a stable in Cranbourne, which the multiple South African champion trainer was to open with son Matthew.
Quarantine would start after Hawwaam races for the last time in South Africa in the Sun Met on February 1 when he would bid to close out a career of eight wins from 10 starts with a fourth G1 victory.
Speaking on his website, De Kock said: “The Australians now require runners travelling from South Africa to spend six months in the UK en route to Australia. Residency in UK was 60 days, this changed three months ago to 180 days and I have no idea why.
“Hawwaam will go into quarantine two weeks after the Met, then on to Mauritius where he will spend three months and then on to the UK for a further six months.”
He continued: “The change of Australian protocol has hurt our contingency plans and business plan for setting up an operation in Australia. In effect it will take Hawwaam more than nine months to get to Australia.
“He will be in training in the UK for his period of residency there and will be entered to race. After the six-month period it will be up to Sheikh Hamdan to decide whether he still wants Hawwaam to go to Australia.”
De Kock said he was not sure if he would continue training the four-year-old if he raced in England.