Tag Archives: Mike De Kock

The Dubai World Cup (Group 1)

Plenty to capture our attention on the worlds richest days racing.

The Dubai World Cup will round off proceedings with a cool $10 million up for grabs. A look at the ante post market tells you just how open this is with the shortest price being 9/2 and the the longest being 20/1 . There’s no stand out horse, pity Game On Dude isn’t back after his awesome performance in the Big Cap at Santa Anita on March 9th. Then we’d have a proper favourite.

The outsiders in the field are Red Cadeaux and Treasure Beach. The former looked to have lost his way in 2012 albeit in top races including the Coronation  Cup, Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup before coming good when winning the Hong Kong Vase in December.

Treasure Beach an Epsom Derby second and Irish Derby winner when in the hands of Aidan O’Brien also lost his way and has transferred  to Mike de Kock. He ran a steady pleasing run on his debut here for his new trainer wh

Dubai World Cup

Dubai World Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

en beaten 4 1/2 l by Hunters Light on Super Saturday in R3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Particularly pleasing was the way he ran on after the line suggesting his form is on the way back and he liked the Tapeta experience. He’s a very live outsider and could well place off an inside draw and a positive ride.

The European team is completed by Plantuer, Meandre and Side Glance. Planteur and Meandre both changed hands during the week for probably shed loads. Planteur won the Lingfield Winter Derby Trial as a prep beating nothing but in a record time winning from the front as he liked. His third here last year definitely gives him a chance after the Lingfiled confidence booster. Andre Farbe’s Meandre  could only manage fourth in his prep on the Chantilly polytrack leaving you relying on the genius of the trainer to see him win this. The Qatar financed Pearl Bloodstock run Side Glance and will have been encouraged by the flourish he showed when running fourth behind Sajjhaa in the Jebel Hatta however a first try on Tapeta is certainly a question mark.

The top of the market is Hunters Light the winner of both R2 and R3 of the Challenge. Both were won in similar circumstances with the Godolphin horse shaping handily running clear to the line without any fuss. He’s discovered maturity and confidence but has yet to do it in a top class test.

The local challenge is supported by the incumbent Monterosso, Capponi, African Story and Kassiano. Monterosso will have needed the run he got in R3 but he will need to come on a ton to win this again. We haven’t seen Capponi since coming second last year so it will be a stunning training feat to pull this off while Kassiano’s form operated at a level suggesting this step up will be too far. African Story is possibly the most interesting of the home challenge. He’s 4/5 on the Meyden Tapeta and would be 5/5 had luck  played it’s part. He overcame an absence of 307 days to win the Burj Nahaar here on Super Saturday having won the same race the year before. The big concern is the trip. He’s never been beyond a mile in fourteen starts over three years racing. Maybe with maturity he’ll see out the 1o f here but….

The three Americans bring some hard nosed form. There headed by the Bill Mott trained Royal Delta a Dirt horse through and through. She’s a top class mare on her home surface winning a Breeders Cup Ladies Classic this last twice. Her prep in the Sabin Stakes shows she’s as good as ever however the obvious concern is her run here last year on the Tapeta where she trailed in ninth to Monterosso albeit having been seriously hampered by a back peddling Transend.

Dullahan hasn’t won since August when he bagged the TVG Pacific Classic on the polytrack at Del mar from Game On Dude. He’s tried twice on turf since in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont and in the Breeders Cup Turf at Santa Anita where he finished down the field a length in front of Treasure Beach.

Animal Kingdom is a class act. A winner of the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness in 2011 he displayed he retains his class when second in the Breeders Cup Mile to Wise Dan and second to Point Of Entry in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Good form on Turf both times. Can he handle the Tapeta?

When you look at it you can see why it’s priced tight by the bookmakers. No standout, nearly all in with a chance.  Do you rely on track form, those proven on the surface or look at the class of the others even if they’ve previously failed here before?

Planteur should ensure a descent pace leaving it to the speedsters to overhaul him. Hunters Light might be short of gears when push comes to shove and if you go local and proven on the track then African Story might write the final chapter.

If it’s hard nose your after then the stars and stripes brigade are where you look. All three could win it. Royal Delta sitting off Planteur might get away in the last 2 f and see it out. Dullahan in the hands of Gary Stephens could show the defeat of Game On Dude was no fluke and the plan since has always been about this. Animal Kingdom’s turn of foot could be the deciding factor. Boxed in he didn’t get out in time in the Breeders Cup Mile. When he eventually saw daylight he flew. Drawn wide here is usually bad news but it might just work out to come late.

In the end the desert may be the Animal Kingdom.

Recommendation : Animal Kingdom 11/2 win

Treasure Beach 20/1 e/w

Reverse F/C on the two

  Times and Races From Meyden Saturday 30th March 2013

GMT Time Status Pattern Race Distance Age Purse
1.10 G2 Godolphin Mile 1600 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
1.45 G3 DRC Gold Cup 3200 Meters (E) Four Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
2.25 G2 UAE Derby 1900 Meters (E) Three Year Olds $ 2,000,000
3.05 G1 Al Quoz Sprint 1000 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
3.45 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen 1200 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 2,000,000
4.40 G1 Dubai Duty Free 1800 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 5,000,000
5.20 G1 Dubai Sheema Classic 2400 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 5,000,000
6.05 G1 Dubai World Cup 2000 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 10,000,000

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Balanchine (Group 2)

The heat is rising in the desert.

There’s a genuine antcipation about this one we haven’t seen yet this year.

A small field of seven go to load including the top South African filly Igugu.

She’s the talk of the town bringing with her the tall reputation of being her nations best ever filly. Australian bred by Galileo she’s demolished all before her at home clocking up a seven race unbeaten run including the fillies version of the country’s Triple Crown, the Vodacom Durban July and J & B Met. She’s oozed quality and now after a long lay off, in part due to injury and in part due to the rules of quarantine, she finally meets the world stage.

Opposing her is Sajjhaa the primary Godolphin hope after her win in the Group 2 Cape Verdi over the mile here four weeks ago. It was a good performance considering the stop start nature of the pace that day and the bump she took from the second when holding her run to the line. This extra furlong here shouldn’t present a problem to her having won a Listed contest at York over 10f.

Her handler Saeed Bin Suroor also runs Dark Orchid and Spellwork. Both ran in the Cape Verdi with the former setting decent fractions, a job you’d expect her to perform again while the latter’s jockey Kieren Fallon reported concern at his fillies action through the race.

Godolphin also run Prussian from the Mahood Al Zaronni team with Mickael Barzalona on board. She’s a transferee from the Mark Johnston team over the winter who won a few decent handicaps when trained in England but this is a big step up on those efforts especially considering her last twelve runs have been over longer distances than this.

Two Irish fillies make up the line up. Pat Shanahan let’s Colliding Worlds take her chance after opening her Carnival effort with a run in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 where she was well behind Barbecue Eddie.

Ger Lyons also steps up Lily’s Angel the winner of the Carnival opener.

She looked very decent over 7 f on the Tapeta surface coming through a gap to easily sprint clear off an inside draw. Since leaving Richard Fahy’s yard last summer she has thrived in the Irish countryside benefitting from the quiet life at Glenburnie. She was an easy winner of a premier handicap at Leopardstown first time out for Ger then built on that with two fine displays at Dundalk including at Listed level before coming to Meyden. She was an obvious for the Cape Verdi over the mile but connections rejected that in favour at a tilt at this 9f. This will be the furthest she will have ever travelled but you’d have to think its a smart move. She’s not in on World Cup night however a supplementary entry for the Godolphin mile is an option after the handicap run. Now they look to find out if the Duty Free door can open.

With Sajjhaa having had a tough run and previously shown herself best when fresh and with Igugu having to overcome a year long lay off and a trip short of ideal then the filly on the up drawn 1 gets a great chance to lie up and then dictate 2 f out. If she stays the 9 f they’ll find it very difficult to pass her.

The question is, will she stay?

As they say in her adopted homeland, no bother, no bother at all.

Recommendation: Lily’s Angel (Best Morning Odds)

Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (Group 2)

Twelve go to post in Round 2 of the Challenge.

With the exception of the Mike De Kock pair of Await The Dawn and Mushreq they’re all locals with the spearhead coming from Godolphin (four from the Saeed bin Suroor stable and one from the Mahood Al Zarooni stable) with A Al Raihe throwing in two and Doug Watson, S Seemar and M bin Shafya one each.

Mike De Kock took the headlines last week with a treble and he sends Mushreq, wearing the first colours of Hamden Al Maktoum (running three), back into battle for another quick return having won last week in a handicap over 10 f on turf. He’s been busy this year, this will be his fourth run at the Carnival having run on tapeta at the first meeting, then a run on turf the week before last and back to tapeta last week. He’s improved with each of those run’s to get top spot in the enclosure last week. Steered by Paul Hannigan, who partners again, he got a clean run having looked unlucky in his previous attempt. This is his first test in Group company and last weeks effort suggests he’ll cope with the step up in class.

Await The Dawn has an entirely different profile. The ex Aidan O’Brien colt took the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011 for Ballydoyle. He was then third in the Group 1 Juddmonte International and went to Churchill Downs for the Breeders Cup Turf where he finished down the field. He returned for last years Duty Free on World Cup night but after setting a decent gallop he shuffled down the field to finish a distance last. We haven’t seen him since so is this a mission to see if he retains his ability? Or something more.

Of the Saeed bin Suroor four you have to like Hunter’s Light. He’s won three from his last four visits to the track, the loss coming in the Prix Dollar beaten 9 l by Cirrus Des Anglais. Last time out in the Italy he took a Group 1 on heavy ground in Rome over 10 f.

Mendip, another bin Suroor inmate returns to the Carnival for the fourth year. He’s won five times previously including this race last year. He then disappointed in Round 3 of the Challenge and in the World Cup itself.

Saint Baudolino was dispatched from the Andre Fabre yard over the winter to the Al Zaronni barn. He highlighted 2012 with a second in the maddeningly run French Derby. He then ran third in the Grand Prix De Paris to Imperial Monarch and on his only other outing he beat his then stable companion Aesop’s Fables (fourth in a Handicap here last week) in a Group 2 at Deauville over 10f.

Jamr and Mufarrh bring the form of Round 1 of the Challenge to the party. The former ran sixth to the latter’s fifth behind Barbecue Eddie over the mile. Jamr then stepped up to 10 f in a handicap running second to Elderly Paradise. Mufarrh who last year ran second in the Godolphin Mile was doing all his best work at the finish in Round 1 will surely benefit for the run and the step up in distance.

Choices, between the De Kock pair,staying local focusing on the Goldolphin spearhead or taking a chance on the one of the lesser fancied home team?

The latter is the choice in the shape of Mufarrh (recommended in R1) who can step up on the work put in then.

Have a look at the video.

Recommendation : Mufarrh 10/1 win

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