FIFTEEN runners from Mike de Kock’s stable will be in action on the opening night of the 2011 Dubai Racing Carnival at Meydan racecourse on Thursday.
Mahbooba (Christophe Soumillon), Empire Rose (Kevin Shea) and Reem (Pat Cosgrave) have been entered for the UAE Guineas Trial over 1400m on the All-Weather.
Mahbooba will be giving weight to her rivals, having won her last South African race after the penalty cut-off and Mike said: “She has to give 7.5kg to a 104-rated filly trained by Peter Chappel-Hyam, for example, so this is a tough task, but if she takes to the all-weather I fancy she’d be competitive.
“Empire Rose will improve with the run, she is doing well and has a place chance. We haven’t seen much of Reem, she looks promising and is likely to improve a lot.”
Soumillon is on Clearly Silver in the Dolce Vita Handicap over 1400m on Turf and will be joined by Shea on Warsaw and Cosgrave on Hunting Tower. “Clearly Silver has shown some nice work recently, he’ll have an eachway chance. Hunting Tower is expected to show improvement on his last start and Warsaw will come on with the run, he hasn’t raced since winning at Jebel Ali last March.”
Wonder Lawn has perhaps the best chance of winning on the evening. He has Kevin Shea booked for the Evidenza ($USD110 000), over 2200m and Mike commented: “He’s doing very well, I have a slight concern about the distance, but he has sound eachway prospects.”
Happy Valley (Shea) and Equiparada (Soumillon) will take their places in the Prima Luna over 2435m on turf, worth $120,000. “They haven’t raced for five-and-a-half months so it won’t be easy, but we’re expecting them to be competitive. We all know they stay very well,” said Mike.
The stable will be hoping for a big run from Our Giant (Soumillon) in the Conquest, a 1200m dash on the All-Weather. Mike said in an earlier report that the former South African Grade 1 winner had looked better than last year and he confirmed this, saying: “Our Giant has won Grade 1 races over 1200m and 1600m and finished second in the J&B Met, so I still believe he needs further than this, but he is fresh and looking good. If he likes the all-weather track he should give a good account of himself.”
Atlantic Sport (Shea), is another stable representative in the Conquest Sprint and he’s a runner Mike expects to show significant improvement with this run under the belt.
The Group 3 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 Sponsored By Longines, tops the bill at the meet and Mike will saddle a trio in Mr Brock (Shea), King Of Rome (Pat Dobbs) and Imbongi (Soumillon).
“Mr Brock starts his 2011 campaign, this run will bring him on and hopefully he’ll be able to be as competitive later on as he was last year. King Of Rome needs the run too, and will be better over further later in the Carnival. Imbongi, as I’ve said, hasn’t been his old self so far this season, but he’s starting to show good signs, he’s going the right way and we’re expecting something better this time.”
Mr Crazy Boy (Rory Cleary), is carded to race in the Master Collection over 1800m on turf, in which he will have to improve a few lengths to have a claim on sharing in the $175 000 on offer. “He is battling to raise his game,” Mike opined.
Photo: Happy Valley after a Greyville gallop, Muzi Yeni up. (Gold Circle).