08/28/2007 11:00PM

Team Valor and de Kock split up


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Team Valor syndicate, headed by Barry Irwin, and the prominent South African trainer Mike de Kock have parted company after a successful association through such runners as Irridescence, Ipi Tombe, and Crimson Palace.

A statement on de Kock's website said the split "resulted from a disagreement concerning the proceeds of the recent sale of Team Valor's mare Irridescence to Green Lantern Stable after she had finished second in the Group 1 Beverly D. in Chicago."

Irwin confirmed Wednesday that there had been a dispute between himself and de Kock but declined to comment on the cause of the disagreement.

Team Valor privately sold its interest in Irridescence, a 6-year-old South African Groupo1 winner, to co-owner Richard and Sue Ann Masson's Green Lantern Stable in early August.

"I don't want to get into it," Irwin said of the dispute with de Kock. "I like the guy. I still have a good feeling about the guy. I have great admiration for the guy, but he's going his way and I'm going mine. I think it was mutually beneficial."

Irwin said he expects to have horses with de Kock again at some point in the future. But for now he will distribute the six he has in de Kock's barn among other South African trainers.

Irwin said he has about 23 horses in training in South Africa with a variety of trainers. Team Valor, a public syndicate, has become a significant player in the South African yearling market in recent years, most recently purchasing a sale-topping yearling colt for 2.6 million rand, or about $359,956 at today's exchange rate, at the South African national yearling sale in May. That colt, named Greenwich Park, is by Gone West's son Western Winter, a leading sire in South Africa.

"I like it down there," Irwin said of South Africa. "I think they raise a good horse, number one, and it's cheaper to keep them down there."

Quarantine in Australia is extended

Shuttle stallions quarantined in Australia due to that nation's first-ever equine influenza outbreak will have to endure quarantine longer. On Wednesday, according to local news reports, veterinary authorities determined that another stallion at the Eastern Creek quarantine station near Sydney has tested positive for the highly contagious but rarely fatal illness. That triggered a 30-day quarantine extension for all quarantined stallions, starting with the confirmation of influenza on Wednesday.

The disease also hit Australian racecourses for the first time late Wednesday, when the first positive test for influenza on a racehorse in training came back at Randwick racecourse in New South Wales. Authorities have shut down the track to training indefinitely, ending hopes that racing would resume there in the near future. Randwick stables about 700 horses, bringing the total of quarantined horses in New South Wales to more than 1,400.

All of Australia's seven states are on alert for the influenza outbreak, with the breeding center of New South Wales, including Sydney, and Queensland, which includes Brisbane, the worst affected. Both New South Wales and Queensland remain under a strict ban on equine transport. The nation's major racing center of Victoria - which has major racecourses at Melbourne, Caulfield, and Moonee Valley, among others - had planned to resume racing on Saturday, provided no runners tested positive there before then. It was unclear Wednesday afternoon how the positive test at Randwick in neighboring New South Wales might affect that plan.

Half Ours retired to stud

Grade 2 winner Half Ours, who underwent surgery for a fractured hind cannon bone in July, has been retired to stud at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.

The Unbridled's Song colt set a record for a horse in training when he sold at Keeneland for $6.1 million last November. His fee will be announced later.

Half Ours, 4, was already a stakes winner when he came to auction at Keeneland's November sale to dissolve the partnership of Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Jones and Mr. and Mrs. Barry Schwartz. Aaron Jones and Barry Schwartz battled for full ownership of the colt, who earlier had won the Juvenile Stakes at Churchill in stakes-record time of 57.07 seconds for the five furlongs.

Jones won the bidding duel and campaigned the colt to victories in three more races, most notably the Grade 2 Richter Scale Sprint Championship Handicap in March. He also finished second in the 2007 Alysheba Stakes, a Grade 3 race.

Half Ours, a son of Storm Cat's winning daughter Zing, retires with a record of 5 wins from 7 starts and earnings of $319,680.

o The Jockey Club reminds stallion owners and managers to submit Reports of Mares Bred to avoid delays in receiving service certificates for the 2007 season. The Jockey Club accepts RMB submissions online through its Interactive Registration service at www.registry.jockeyclub.com. Forms also may be mailed to The Jockey Club at 821 Corporate Drive, Lexington, Ky., 40503-2794.