MIKE de Kock saddled one winner, Asiatic Boy, at the first meeting of the 2007 Dubai Racing Carnival at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night. He wrote on this site during the week that Asiatic Boy was the only one of his first four runners that would stand a good chance of winning and his judgement was spot-on.
The three-year-old Argentine-bred, Asiatic Boy (Weichong Marwing), scored a spectacular win in the $US30 000 Dumaani Stakes over 1400m on dirt. Drawn widest of all, Asiatic Boy was rushed along to race around the field and quickly into the lead to set a cracking gallop.
A terrific Dubai debut for Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s three-year-old colt, Asiatic Boy (Weichong Marwing). PHOTOS BY ANDREW WATKINS.
Marwing eased off just a little as they turned into the home straight and Asiatic Boy appeared to be coming under pressure 400m from the line. But when the jock flexed his hands and said, “Let’s Go!’’ the colt stretched away and soon put daylight between himself and ten others.
Asiatic Boy came home 4,75 lengths clear of Traffic Guard and Mount Handley. He wasn’t fully extended and De Kock said: “This was a win full of merit. I liked the way he quickened off a strong pace. He’s a good horse and we’ll be aiming him at the UAE Guineas.”
De Kock said that Asiatic Boy didn’t beat a field of average rivals. The runner-up, Traffic Guard, finished just over 10 lengths off top European performers Teofilo and Holy Roman Emperor in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes over 1400m and is a colt of high quality.
Asiatic Boy is by Argentine-based stallion Not For Sale from S.S.Asiatic by Polish Navy (US). Not For Sale was himself a Grade 1 winning sprinter in Argentina, winning nine of 25 starts. He is by Parade Marshal out a Laramie Trail mare by Swaps.
Asiatic Boy is owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and De Kock said: “Sheikh Mohammed was delighted with this win. It was a great start to the Carnival for both of us. He was accompanied by his young son and a few friends and came over to thank us for the good evening. It is an honour to train for him.’’
De Kock added that Sheikh Mohammed had bought a half-brother to Asiatic Boy and is presently negotiating to buy the mare. “I have an ever-vigilant bloodstock team in Jehan Malherbe and Dr John McVeigh, and Alex Garcia helped us to find Asiatic Boy and Engrupido.”
Last year’s South African Gold Cup winner, Diamond Quest, made a great debut in Dubai when running on powerfully for a close third in the US$110 000 Dayjur Trophy over 1500m, a trip well short of his best.
“We didn’t expect him to win, but he was unlucky not to have won anyway,’’ De Kock said of Diamond Quest, who was well out of his ground in the early stages of the race. “He’ll be aimed at a mile-and-a-half race coming up in a few weeks.’’
Another Argentine import Engrupido also made a decent debut for De Kock and Sheikh Mohammed. He was outpaced early and raced wide into the straight, but made up good ground to finish only 3,50 lengths adrift of Andrew Balding’s Irish-bred, Kalankari.
“We knew this would be too short for Engrupido, but he will come on a lot with this run behind him and is another Guineas prospect.’’
Trainer Herman Brown and jockey Kevin Shea, a formidable combination at last year’s Carnival, also chalked up a win at the opening Carnival meeting. They were successful with smart filly Indochine, who won the $110 000 Intidab for fillies over 1500m.
Shea, who excels in Dubai and holds his own among the best in the world, will soon have to serve a suspension for reckless riding. The stylish South African at times gets over-vigorous with his strong will to win. Shea was the leading jockey by number of winners at the 2006 Carnival, but will be up against the odds having to defend his title whilst missing four Carnival meetings this season.