“MUSIR is flying, he’s very well,” said Mike de Kock about the 2010 UAE Derby winner who will make his seasonal debut in the $US175 000 Listed Firebreak Stakes over 1600m on the All-Weather at Meydan on Thursday evening, 10 February.
The son of Redoute’s Choice reunites in this level-weights contest with jockey Christophe Soumillon, who rode him to victory in three successive starts during last year’s Dubai Racing Carnival.
“He’s doing everything right and should go close,” added Mike.
Stablemates Imbongi (“holding his form, his work is more or less on a par with what it was before his last run”) and Frosty Secret (“second in the Maktoum Mile as a younger horse and may improve”) are other De Kock runners in the race.
Zanzamar (Richard Hills) is expected to make a bold bid in the night’s main event, the $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas over 1600m on the All-Weather. “This is a tougher race for him than last time, but he will be better suited to the mile and I fancy he’ll run very well,” Mike said of Sheikh Hamdan’s charge.
Second-stringer Abstrato (Shea), will have plenty of work to do having not shown the improvement expected of him.
On what should be another good race night for the stable, Golden Sword (Race 3, 1900m, AW) and Raihana (Race 7, 1800m, Turf), hold clear winning chances too.
“Golden Sword ran a big race two weeks ago and should go very close,” Mike said about what looks to be a rejuvenated five-year-old from Sheik Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s camp. Golden Sword’s race companion Wonder Lawn couldn’t make the frame at Jebel Ali last time, but has place prospects. “He had excuses last time, his work is still very good,” the trainer added.
Raihana was impressive in third after a long rest last time and she is expected to fight out the finish in the Dubai Excellence Trophy. “Raihana has improved after her last run, which was a good showing on turf. She is extremely well and distance suited too.”
Irish Flame will line up with Raihana and while he is still not at his best, Mike feels he can also run into the money. “I warned last time that Irish Flame needed his run and that the 1800m was too short. He is a lazy work horse and he needs racing to bring him along.
“A class horse like Irish Flame can never be ignored, but he will be running over 1800m again and this run will bring him to his peak for the Dubai City Of Gold over 2410m, his first target race this season.”
Atlantic Sport (Shea) and Clearly Silver (Soumillon) are both in good nick for a 1400m handicap on the All Weather that opens the programme at this meeting. They’re expected to be competitive.
Hunting Tower (Kevin Shea) ran his best race for a while when finishing close-up in fourth to Lolamar in a 2000m race last week and the stable is hoping he can earn another cheque in Race 2 over 2200m, the distance of his 2007 Durban July win.
Photo: Musir (blue cap, winning 2010 UAE Derby) and Raihana (white cap), are both in action at Meydan on Thursday. (Andrew Watkins).