SUPER Saturday at Meydan in Dubai produced a mixed bag of results with two winners and two disappointments for the stable, but if Mike and his team were to be guaranteed another brace of winners for World Cup night, they’d sign on the imaginery dotted line in advance!
The curtain-raiser for the world’s richest race meeting produced some exciting racing all-round. Mike saddled Masterofhounds to win the Gr 1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m on turf (headline photo by Andrew Watkins) and Mickdaam to a success in the Listed Al Bastakiya over 1900m. Bold Silvano (Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3) and Musir (Burj Nahaar), ran below expectations.
With a number of slow early clips and getaway wins evident, earlier on the card, Mike instructed Kevin Shea to set the pace on Masterofhounds in the Jebel Hatta – if required – a race they’d won before with Ipi Tombe.
“They were steady-cantering and winning on the night and it worked for us too,” Mike smiled after the race as the son of Kingmambo led the field into the home run at the proverbial half-pace, quickened clear and kept going strongly to win by three-quarters of a length from City Style.
Mutahadee, the more fancied stable runner, found galloping room late in the race. He ran on well for third, beaten 1.25-lengths under Christophe Soumillon.
Mike described the evergreen Shea’s ride as a “clever” one. ‘The Pastor’ had judged the pace to perfection. He had Masterofhounds well balanced, got him quickly straightened after the turn and galloping along merrily in his hands. The others were flatfooted after the initial crawl and chased hard, but to no avail.
Shea got low down and working on Masterofhounds, driving him hard over the last 150m and they hit the line for what must have been one of the veteran rider’s most satisfying career wins.
“Masterofhounds will qualify for the Dubai Duty Free and the race will suit him, but I’m not going to commit at this point. We may still decide to switch him to the Dubai World Cup, we’ll keep our options open.”
Mutahadee was considered unlucky not to have finished closer. He was perhaps too far out of his ground early, made up good ground in the home run but was squeezed for a run and saw daylight too late. He finished fast and Mike said: “Had the race been run differently Mutahadee might even have got to the lead, he’s a super horse, but Masterofhounds’ number’s in the frame, we won the race anyway and we’ll take it!”
There will be no second guesses when it comes to Mickdaam’s next run. He will take his place in the UAE Derby following a commanding win in the Al Bastikaya and Mike, who has won the Derby five times before (Victory Moon, Lundy’s Liability, Asiatic Boy, Honour Devil and Musir), said: “Mickdaam is still improving and the further the better for him. He is obviously our Derby candidate this season.”
Musir will be aimed at the Godolphin Mile on World Cup night. He looked to have the Gr 3 Burj Nahaar at his mercy but was beaten over four lengths into third by African Story, running a lacklustre race by his standards.
Mike commented: “I had to give Musir a short rest after his last run and he may have been a bit underdone tonight. He didn’t have his usual powerful kick in the straight, he is better than this.”
Bold Silvano was beaten a distance in the Al Maktoum Round 3, obviously not a reflection of his ability and Mike said: “Christophe reported that Bold Silvano wasn’t breathing in the race, he may have gotten his tongue over the bit, but this was not his run by a long way, we simply have no answer for what happened, at this stage.”