THE De Kock stable completed Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan without saddling a winner – only the third time in nine DWC meetings – but it was an excellent season nonetheless and Mike is most encouraged by what is to come in months ahead.
The stable saddled 16 winners and 44 places from 116 runs, its third-best tally ever, and Mdk runners banked in excess of $US3,5 million for their connections.
Mike finished second on the Carnival’s Trainers Table, pipped by Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor, while his UAE stable jockey Christophe Soumillon finished at the top of the Jockeys log with 11 winners and 22 places from just 50 mounts.
River Jetez, game in second to Presvis. (Andrew Watkins).
On the night, River Jetez came desperately close to winning the Dubai Duty Free under Bernard Fayd’Herbe and Mike said: “River Jetez is a mighty talented and game mare and it was a pleasure working with her this season. Our thanks go to Mike Bass and his team for sending her to us.
“River Jetez ran her heart out, she did everything but win and one must keep in mind that she was beaten by a truly top horse in Presvis who, to name an example, beat Hong Kong’s star Viva Pataca in the 2009 QEII Cup. We’ll take the mare to Hong Kong next.” (see report elsewhere).
Musir and Golden Sword couldn’t make the frame in the Dubai World Cup, but they were all but beaten as early as halfway through the race, both not suited to the slow early pace.
The clip, moderate to start, was described by commentator Terry Spargo as “being steadied” about 800m into the contest, where the rider of the front-runner Transcend slows it down a fraction more and the jock on Gio Ponti has his hands full restraining Gio Ponti, racing handy. (see video feature for scene-set and replay).
Mike commented: “We anticipated a good pace in the World Cup and planned around that, so our strategies were foiled early. I instructed Christophe and Kevin Shea to ride their mounts ‘cold’, to give them a chance. As it turned out the pace left us in the cold. The eventual winner hurried the pace along in the back straight, it worked for him. Kevin tried to get Golden Sword handier and Christophe was caught in a pocket on Musir, but they were simply not suited to the way the race was run, not their style of racing at all.
“Musir actually ran on very well late in the race, he was one of the fastest finishers and was beaten under three lengths. He will be going to Hong Kong with River Jetez. Golden Sword’s run can be forgiven, he had a super season and gave his best.
“We’re not crying and making excuses though. This is racing, we took our chances. If Bold Silvano took his place things might have turned out for the better, but the result’s in the frame and we’re not going to dwell on what could have been. There is a busy schedule ahead.”
Zanzamar (blue silks): big prospect next year. (Andrew Watkins).
Mike was particularly excited with the performances of Mahbooba and Zanzamar, third and fourth respectively in the UAE Derby.
He said: “The standard of the UAE Derby was better than I’ve ever seen. Our runners gave away 7kg and 5kg respectively to the winner – I’ve had my say about that – and the first two were top-class horses in their own right, both talked about as top contenders in Europe later this year. In a few months we’ll meet them at level weights.
“Mahbooba has performed with distinction all season, she has more good wins ahead of her. Zanzamar didn’t have an ideal preparation and ran a cracker, proving that he has the class. He is still immature and we’ll leave him in Dubai until next year, when he should be a serious contender at the Carnival.”
Irish Flame finished in midfield in the Sheema Classic, still running below his best, but Mike believes he will turn the corner at some point. “Irish Flame had a good position in the race but failed to kick on strongly. He just didn’t enjoy his first spell in Dubai, he was lacklustre. But horses don’t lose their ability, only their form at times. He’ll be taking a break before we send him to England for a few months.”
While plans have not been finalised, Golden Sword, Bold Silvano and Mahbooba will be joining Irish Flame for campaigns in Europe later this season.
A record crowd of over 81 000 racegoers attended Saturday’s 16th Dubai World Cup. Mr. Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Meydan commented: “Saturday proved more than ever, that Dubai World Cup is undoubtedly the Event of the Year in Dubai. It unites a world that shares a common thread; the love of racing, sportsmanship and of championing humanity as we have seen last night.
“The record attendance figures serves to re-affirm that Dubai World Cup is more than just a sporting event, but one with global stature and brand cache that continues to grow in international reputation.”