MUSIR wasn’t asked to extend himself in a battle with Godolphin’s Skysurfers when they contested the finish of the Firebreak Stakes over 1600m at Meydan on 10 February, Musir’s first run in almost a year. (headline photo of Musir, right, and Skyscrapers: Andrew Watkins).
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s smashing four-year-old colt faces an arguably tougher task against Godolphin’s lightly-raced Irish-bred, Prince Bishop, in Thursday’s $US300,000 Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 3) over 2000m, on the All Weather but jockey Christophe Soumillon won’t have to worry about ring-rustiness this time.
Musir, according to Mike, is doing exceptionally well. With Bold Silvano temporarily on the sideline, the stable decided to field this very capable substitute.
Musir was originally pointed at Thursday’s Burj Najhaar over a mile, but the manner in which he beat top filly Raihana over 1900m on this track in last year’s UAE Derby suggests that the Dubai World Cup trip will be right up his alley.
That aside, Musir’s good work at home persuaded the team to go for the slightly bigger prize on offer in the Maktoum race and there’s enough confidence in the camp to suggest that he can fight out the finish.
Irish Flame. (Gold Circle).
Whether Prince Bishop or any of his four capable stable companions emerge as Musir’s threat, it will come as no surprise to see Musir’s own team mate Irish Flame laying down a challenge.
Irish Flame (Kevin Shea) is expected to make good improvement and Mike said: “The turf track is too firm, so we’re bypassing the Dubai City Of Gold to see how Irish Flame will shape on the All-Weather. He is well and we’ll be looking for a good run.
With Musir standing in for Bold Silvano, Our Giant (Soumillon) will be the team’s only representative in the Bur Najaar, contested on the All Weather, his best course this season. He should improve and has a chance.
In the absence of Irish Flame, Mr Brock (Shea) will carry the flag in the City Of Gold over 2400m. He’s in good form, stays well and should enjoy the turf, having won a Listed race on this surface in Abu Dhabi in 2009.
Reem (Pat Cosgrave), after her win on 13 January. (Andrew Watkins).
Game filly Reem (Shea) will be taking on the colts in the Al Bastikya over 1900m and she’s in excellent shape: “She’ll give a good account of herself,” Mike assessed.