Meydan Thursday preview

ALL eyes will be on 2012 Cape Premier Yearling Sale Graduate Red Ray when the four-year-old colt by Western Winter makes his Dubai debut in Thursday evening’s Gr2  Al Fahidi Fort (Race 6) over 1400m on turf at Meydan’s third 2015 Carnival meeting.

Markus and Ingrid Jooste’s runner has been off the track since the end of last May, when he ran a cracker in second to Normanz in the Gr1  Golden Horse Sprint over 1200m at Scottsville, but Mike de Kock reports that there is reason to expect a good showing and his regular jockey Anton Marcus has flown in for the ride.

“Red Ray has a big reputation and he’s showed us his talent in work, he is doing very well. He steps into international Gr2 company after being shipped from South Africa and all our new arrivals have been short of their best, but if he reproduces his work he will contest the finish, we are hoping for a big run.”


Red Ray: High hopes for him, first time out at Meydan. (Photo by Liesl King/Gold Circle).

Red Ray’s two previous attempts at 1400m on turf yielded an easy win in the Gr3 Cape Classic over subsequent Durban July winner Legislate and a second to another Gr1 performer Captain America,  respectively,suggesting that this course and distance will suit him well.

While Red Ray is the stable elect, Mike has won the Al Fahidi Fort several times at previous Carnivals, including last year with Anaerobio, who returns to have a shot at the double.  Consistently in the money at the last three Carnivals, Anaerobio is a track and trip specialist with three wins to his credit, and stable jockey Christophe Soumillon will be waiting to pounce on Mohammed Khaleel’s seven-year-old if Red Ray fluffs his lines.

“Anaerobio is as honest as the day is long. He’s a genuine, capable horse and he’s doing well, he should run well again,” Mike commented.

Five-year-old New Zealand-bred Zahee (Wayne Smith) is the third string to Mike’s bow, no slouch with an upset chance despite his poor last run on dirt.

Meydan, Dubai, UAE. March 24 2013: Zahee at Meydan

Zahee: Good form in prep gallops. (Andrew Watkins).

Mike noted: “You can draw a line through Zahee’s run on dirt a fortnight ago, he’s a decent horse who shows us a lot in work, but hasn’t quite fulfilled his promise. He’s in good form at home, he should put up a much better performance.”

It is worth considering that Zahee’s only previous course and distance run yielded a good third in a competitive upper-level handicap in which he finished ahead of Anaerobio and another stablemate Kavanagh, both multiple winners in Dubai. Add Zahee to your Trifectas.

Here are Mike’s other runner comments:

Race 1: Handicap over 1200m on dirt:
Merhee (Soumillon)
“Merhee has indifferent career form on dirt, we’ve had some good rain in Dubai recently so the track will be firmer. He hasn’t delivered his best so far in Dubai, it’s a question of trial and error again but he must have a chance of making the frame if he puts it together this time.”

Race 4: Handicap over 1800m on turf:
Rock Cocktail (Marcus); Umgiyo (Soumillon) and Disa Leader (Smith)
“Rock Cocktail is a run short of his best, making his first appearance here.  He’s in good nick though and should make an impression. Umgiyo didn’t live up to our early expectations in South Africa, but it may have been a maturity thing and we’re keen to see how he will shape several months later in Dubai. He has matured into a very nice horse and he’s put up some good work, he’s galloping well and he’s set for a nice run. Disa Leader is another who didn’t like the sand in his last outing, ignore that. He’s past his best, but back on turf we’re hoping for an honest run and some place money.”


Umgiyo: More mature now, watch. 

Race 7: Handicap over 2435m on turf:
Full Combat (Paul Hanagan)
“Full Combat has been disappointing so far, we’re trying him over further and he takes quite a drop in class. He is capable of better but there are no guarantees he’ll deliver his best.”