MUTAHDEE, partnered by Christophe Soumillon, made a promising winning debut for Mike de Kock on a generally satisfactory Carnival Friday evening for the stable at Meydan in Dubai.
For more than half the journey of the Swaiden Trading Company Peugeot Handicap over 1800m on turf, Mutahdee took cover behind four runners, with three others behind him and all being towed along by Warmonger, on which Richard Hills wasn’t in a hurry and under no apparent pressure to hasten the clip either.
Hills, hoping that the forgiving spirit among his colleagues would prevail, finally flexed some muscle as they turned into the final bend and Warmonger made a determined early dash for home.
Soumillon, however, is seldom guilty of laissez faire and the race changed in a matter of seconds. Before anyone could say “Cravache d’Or”, he’d released Mutadeeh from the restraints of his bit. The pair set out in hot pursuit of Warmonger, now keenly rushed along by Hills.
Muhtadee (Christophe Soumillon, yellow, blue silks) left them standing!
Warmonger’s reign came to a swift end. Mutahdee rattled purposefully onto the battlefront and eliminated the leader without a hint of any guns being drawn to counter his maneuvre. The four-year-old bay galloper by Encosta De Lago left Warmonger and company flatfooted, his show of all-round contempt enough to spare Hills the embarrassment of raising a humble white flag on behalf of all those so soundly defeated.
Mutahdee strode away to a four-length success and secured the lion’s share of a $US150,000 stake for owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, proudly present at the racetrack to relish the satisfying denoument of this one-sided battle along with his son, Sheikh Ahmed, and their entourage.
Viscount Nelson, another well-bred runner shipped from Ireland in the pre-season to join Mike’s team, stayed on best of the beaten brigade, heading Alrasm out of second. Warmonger secured fourth.
Mike commented: “Both Mutahdee and Viscount Nelson have run very well and I am delighted. We expected Mutahadee to come out on top of our pair but perhaps not to win first time out. We thought Viscount Nelson would need the run and further. He ran on well so we could not be happier.”
Mutadeeh started his career in Ireland with trainer Fuzzy Stack, winning his Maiden and placing twice in Group company in only four starts. He’s put himself quickly and impressively on Dubai’s Carnival map and Sheikh Mohammed will be hoping that the colt’s impressive opening salvo was just a hint of things to come.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Mahbooba was involved in the best finish of the evening in the Cape Verdi over 1600m, in which she found herself leading this Gr2 field into the home run, with stablemate Reem the closest to her in second, a length and a half adrift.
Mahbooba kept running powerfully when they straightened and extended her lead over Reem. Coming to the 300m mark her supporters were getting visions of a well-deserved win when Ali Al Raihe’s First City appeared on the scene, low flying under Royston Ffrench.
Mahbooba (on the rail), defeated by the judge’s photo-finish camera.
Soumillon brought his no-nonsene whip hand into play and Mahbooba matched First City head-for-head in a gruelling 100m drive to the Meydan winning post, where only the judge’s camera could separate them in favour of Al Raihe’s filly, the winning distance declared as “Ns”, a true nose. Reem, who was headed for third place inside the last 100m, came back to secure it.
Incidentally, Mike tipped First City, well-performed at Group level in the UK, to win on mikedekockracing.com in Thursday’s column. She drifted to 10-1 at the off and paid R8 for a Saftote win.
Anaerobio, a steadily fading and disappointing 11.5 lengths off the winner at the first Carnival meeting, ran a much improved four lengths behind in a 1600m handicap that closed proceedings. He turned for home last of all, but made it up to a point where eagle-eyed commentator Terry Spargo spotted him as a late challenger for top honours.
Anaerobio just ran out of steam over the last 75m, but on the face of this performance his level of fitness looks to be approaching target. The decision to tie Anaerobio’s tongue down and to put a different bit in his mouth must also have had the required effect.
Headline photo: Mutahdee with jockey Christophe Soumillon and his son on his arm. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum holds Christophe’s daughter and Mohammed Khaleel looks on. (Photos by Andrew Watkins).