WITH the great Dubai World Cup meeting looming it was business as usual at the Vaal on Thursday and the stable notched a double for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, who will be holding thumbs for the same feat with any of his horses at Saturday evening’s spectacle.
Newcomer Umneeyatee (AUS) and Up and Running kept the home fire burning at the country track, saddled by assistant trainer John Buckler.
Umneeyatee (12-10 favourite), by Encosta De Lago, is a half-sister to Gr1 winner Amanee (Pivotal), and will hopefully scale similar heights. She won her 1200m debut by 8.75-lengths for jockey Randall Simons and Buckler said: “There’s no way of telling how strong this field was, but this was a promise of more to come. Umneeyatee is a nice filly who will bear watching over a bit further.”
Up and Running (15-2, Anthony Delpech), lightly raced, hadn’t seen the winner’s enclosure since May 2010, but the yard’s persistence paid off and he finally made it two successes from 11 outings in a MR78 handicap over 1200m.
“Up and Running has been knocking at the door and we’d found the right field, track and trip for him here. Perhaps he can crack another win in a similar field,” Buckler said.