THE stable followed last week’s four-timer at Meydan with a fine treble when Hunting Tower, Golden Sword and Raihana landed the spoils and Atlantic Sport, Zanzamar, Musir and Imbongi took promising places at the Dubai Carnival meeting of 10 February.
It was a satisfying evening in several respects – their growing winning tally at the Carnival aside, Mike and his team are proud to have won another race with eight-year-old Hunting Tower – his second success since moving to the UAE in 2010 following eight wins for trainer Charles Laird in South Africa as a younger horse; they’ve managed to rejuvenate the talented Golden Sword after near two lacklustre years without a win and they’ve brought Rahaina back to her best after a most disappointing spell in Australia midway through 2010.
Hunting Tower (Soumillon) wins well over his favourite trip.
Soumillon booted home the night’s three winners for Mike and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and put a fourth on the board when winning the Dubai Trophy on Prohibit for trainer Robert Cowell.
“Hunting Tower is a genuine horse, I didn’t have to hit him hard,” said jockey Christophe Soumillon after the old chap’s fluent win in a 2200m handicap on the All Weather and Mike echoed his words with, “Hunting Tower thoroughly deserved this win, he’s worked hard this season but my horses have been able to race more often on the feed we developed with Epol and Dr Rensia de Wet last year. It’s made a remarkabkle difference!”
Golden Sword entered the home turn last in a 1900m handicap on the All Weather but had no trouble in making up the ground once he straightened, switched to the outside and stormed down the middle of the All-Weather.
“Golden Sword has a new lease of life, he’s a smart horse and we’ll be looking at running him in the Al Maktoum Challenge, Round 3, over 2000m. If he maintains his good form and can make his mark in that race, he could be a World Cup prospect.”
Golden Sword (Soumillon), impressive over 1900m.
Raihana, not a shadow of herself on a visit Down Under, sliced through the field in the Dubai Excellence Trophy to win by three-quarters of a length, easing down, and Mike said: “She’s a Group filly and we’ll be aiming her at the Dubai Duty Free.”
Zanzamar, second in the UAE2000 Guineas to Splash Point, has further improvement to come and Mike assessed: “The gaps didn’t open for him tonight, he ran a very good race and along with Mahbooba is on track for the UAE Derby.”
Musir ran on strongly in the Firebreak Stakes – a quality line-up. He drew alongside Skysurfers but the Godolphin runner had his measure and Soumillon wisely didn’t engage Musir in a tussle as Frankie Dettori’s mount was going clearly the better and there was no reason for a punishing ride after Musir’s rest. He will improve many lengths after this run.
Headline photo: Raihana, approaching top form, made light work of her opposition.
(Photos by Andrew Watkins, exclusive to mikedekockracing.com. See 2011 Dubai Gallery for updated snaps).