New Cranbourne training team on fire

By: Michael Manley Tuesday 1 December 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic led to the Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock partnership forming but it also almost sank any chance of it happening.

After only officially joining forces six weeks ago, the fledgling team has won seven races from its past 28 starters, including a double at Sandown Hillside last Wednesday.

They again have a quartet of horses with strong chances entered for the same venue this week.

Griffiths explained that de Kock, the son of legendary South African trainer Mike de Kock, arrived in Australia in March only days before the country's COVID lockdown began.

De Kock's initial plan was to set up a branch of his father's business at Cranbourne but it was impossible to start a new stable under the circumstances.

Griffiths convinced de Kock he should join him in a partnership as it had mutual benefits for both parties and although it was agreed to several months ago, it was only officially announced in October.

"He is bringing so much to the table. The youth I can see in him, his excitement, his enthusiasm, we are all feeding of it plus his knowledge is extraordinary," Griffiths said.

"Also he's experienced, he's travelled the globe working for his father and he's also worked for (Bob) Baffert and (Aidan) O'Brien."

Over his training career, Griffiths has regularly attacked summer racing with great success and that is his plan again this season.

"I thought we would bide our time. I told Mathew to be prepared for a light spring and that we would attack the summer racing with gusto," Griffiths said.

Last Wednesday at Sandown, Griffiths and de Kock won races with King Magnus and La Pietra and also produced two second placegetters.

They again have four runners entered for this week's card at the same track.

Griffiths has a nice opinion of Rutherford, who runs in a 1000 metre benchmark 64 race on Wednesday, and also Lady D'Oro who tackles a benchmark 63 over 1300 metres against her own sex.

Both horses were first-up winners.

Griffiths says Collectable, who will line up over 1800 metres, is a confusing horse who has the talent to run well in good races but tends to find trouble when competing in the lower grades.

King Magnus is not a certain starter after drawing wide for his assignment.