x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Jell to saddle River Jetez for de Kock at Falmouth Stakes

It will be the South African trainer's assistant who will saddle the mare before the Group 1 race in his absence.

NEWMARKET, England // River Jetez may be running under Mike de Kock's name this afternoon but it will be the South African trainer's assistant who will saddle the mare before the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes.

Steve Jell, who joined De Kock in 2004, has been looking after his European string at Abington Stables in Newmarket ahead of the trainer's arrival in a few week's time.

Jell is part of a group of up-and-coming assistants who are taking responsibility off their bosses as racing becomes increasingly global. Assistant trainers are a regular feature at Meydan Racecourse during the International Carnival, with the likes of Charlie Henson, Luca Cumani's assistant, featuring heavily in Dubai while his employer kept hold of the reins back at Newmarket.

De Kock transported his crack Carnival team to England in May, and Jell has presided over their training programmes since then.

Bold Silvano, who won the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan in February, and a host of fillies including Mahbooba, the UAE 1000 Guineas winner, are all stabled in Newmarket but River Jetez is the first to take to the racecourse here.

The eight-year-old mare has been gallivanting across the globe since finishing second to Presvis in the Dubai Duty Free in March. She put in a disappointing effort that mystified Jell when sixth in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup in Hong Kong before running a fine second to Gitano Hernando in Singapore.

It has been a hectic schedule, and one which required a brutal quarantine programme.

"River Jetez has completed 114 days of quarantine in the last year and has been in five countries," Jell said. "If you compete at this level that is what you have got to do. The public rarely hear about this process but it is just part and parcel of international racing."

If Jell took on the chin the quarantine period imposed on his charge, he was quick to underline that River Jetez was not fully wound up for today's assignment.

"I gave her a long break after Singapore and she started doing work two weeks ago," Jell also said.

"We haven't done much with her and I've barely pushed her. Mike wanted to run her at Newmarket before a run in the Beverley D at Arlington [in August] as there are so few opportunities for fillies over here."

River Jetez faces 10 rivals, including Godolphin's Antara, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Maqaasid as well as Princess Haya of Jordan's Joviality.