9 April 2024

Griffiths De Kock Racing

With a rich legacy and an unwavering commitment to excellence, the Griffiths de Kock Racing team has consistently competed at the top level of Australian horse racing for over three decades, with the team holding multiple top 10 placings in the Victorian trainer’s premiership with a select stable. In 2020, the team expanded, welcoming the partnership with Matthew De Kock, the son of a 126-time South African Group 1 winning trainer. Griffiths de Kock Racing is a Group 1 winning stable, based out of the fantastic Cranbourne facilities. The team have the capacity for a 100-horse system, with up to 60 horses in training at any one time.


Robbie Griffiths: Head Trainer

Robbie Griffiths is a Victorian-based horse trainer who took out his training license in 1991. Before transitioning to training, Robbie had a successful career as a jockey, claiming victory in 250 races, with his brother Rodney Griffiths, a great rider in his time, amassing over 1,400 winners in Australia and abroad in his two decades as a jockey. Griffiths was intent on gaining key racing experience both as a rider and as a trainer with Robbie stating “I always knew my purpose in life was to succeed as a thoroughbred trainer”. Robbie worked and rode for the likes of Bart Cummings, Colin Hayes and the Freeman team. Griffiths then worked closely with Tony Vasil both as a rider and trainer before entering into the training ranks over 30 years ago. The team has placed a key emphasis on exposing the prizemoney in Victoria and targeting his horses to bonus schemes such as the Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold.

De Kock (left) and Griffiths (right) after winning the Cranbourne Cup with King Magnus

Mathew De Kock: Co-Head Trainer

Born to South African Champion trainer Mike de Kock, Mat (32) did not join the racing industry until after school when he considered moving to university in the US where he would have pursued a career in golf. However, upon working in the stables for 9 months, between completing school and moving to the US, Mat was bitten by the racing bug and decided to stay at the stables. Recognising the top-tier quality of the Cranbourne training facilities in Victoria, Mathew decided it was the ideal place for him to develop from an assistant to a head trainer, stating, “I did a tour of Victorian training centres and New South Wales training centres and felt that Cranbourne was by far, head and shoulders, the best training centre when it comes to tracks and the facilities for the horse”.

Speaking to at the time of the announcement De Kock discussed how struggles in South African racing prompted the interest in Australian racing where he was recommended by the Victorian Racing community and the Cranbourne Turf Club to talk to Robbie Griffiths.

De Kock stated “When I decided that, I wanted to come and learn from a trainer that trains at Cranbourne, so I could get the lay of the land and Neil Bainbridge, the CEO of Cranbourne (Turf Club), said that I should go to Robbie Griffiths because he’s the best trainer in Cranbourne, so Robbie was kind enough to have me. I started working for Robbie for six months and we grew a good relationship, Robbie obviously saw some good values in me and potential and offered me the partnership and away we went”.

The Griffiths and de Kock partnership became official in October 2020, and the pair has already celebrated success in feature races with the likes of All-Star Mile contender King Magnus and straight-track specialist Halvorsen.

Verdad is Group 1 horse in the making

The Stables

Stable Stars and Training Strategy

The Quarterback was Griffiths Racing’s 1st Group 1 winner, defeating Chautauqua in the Newmarket Hcp

Griffiths’s business strategy of focusing on the VOBIS and Super VOBIS bonus schemes has seen the team train multiple horses to win significant prizemoney of $250,000 and above, taking horses with middle-range pedigrees and getting the best out of their ability. The team went to new heights when The Quarterback defeated multiple Group 1 winners Chautauqua and Black Heart Bart to win the 2016 Newmarket Hcp at Flemington following a string of close calls at Group 1, marking Griffiths’s first Group 1 success. Most recently their stable star Verdad ran second behind Caulfield Guineas winner Griff in the Stutt Stakes before a 4th in the Caulfield Guineas. In Victoria alone, the team has secured over 1500 winners for prizemoney totalling over $40M. The team has trained over 100 winners in a season on 2 occasions in the last 10 years and over 80 six times in that period. In 2023 the team struck at 27% in the Melbourne Cup Carnival. During Cup week the team was in the spotlight due to the strong win of flyer Najem Suhail in the 1000m Century Stakes defeating stakes winner Spacewalk, stablemate Halvorsen and Royal Ascot runner Cannonball.

Najem Suhail gets the bob over Stakes winner Spacewalk in the Century Stakes

Giving Back To Racing

Shiranee Griffiths, wife of racehorse trainer Robbie Griffiths, is a great example of an industry participant who is dedicated to finding suitable homes for horses once they have finished racing. An unadulterated love for horses is something that emanates deep within all participants of the thoroughbred racing industry. From strappers to jockeys, to farriers, trainers and all in between;  that love is what inspires an individual to rise at the crack of dawn and work through the frosty, cold mornings.

It would be difficult to find someone with a deeper appreciation and admiration of the thoroughbred than Shiranee and Robbie Griffiths. Shiranee works tirelessly, not only as an integral member of the hugely successful Griffiths Racing team but also in her efforts to rehome horses who have retired from their racing careers. “It’s something that is very important to Robbie and I,” Shiranee said. “We always try to make sure that the horses that we’ve raced are re-homed into the right environment. “We’re very fortunate that everything we have is because of what we do, and the horses we’ve raced. I like to think that when they’ve retired at six, seven or eight; that they’re still young horses with a big future and a lot of years ahead of them.”

It is thanks to the tireless work of individuals such as Shiranee that the equine industry as a whole; from racing to showjumping to the most remote pony clubs in Victoria; is able to continue to work and grow harmoniously, allowing the future stars of the turf an opportunity to experience all the joy and love that comes through life with a thoroughbred.

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