AN appreciative Meydan crowd were treated to a Mike De Kock masterclass on Thursday evening with the South African saddling half of the six winners at the fourth meeting of the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival.
The undoubted highlight was the victory of local debutant, The Apache (headline photo), having his first start for the trainer and first start in almost a year, in the featured Group 2 Al Rashidiya, an 1800m turf contest, which like the whole card, was sponsored by DUBAL.
Ridden confidently by Christophe Soumillon, the pair hit the front about 200m out to deny Godolphin’s City Style by three quarters. City Style finished runner-up to a De Kock horse in this race for a second year running having chased home Musir 12 months ago.
It was a record fifth win in the race for the trainer whose 2004 victor, Right Approach went on to dead-heat in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free, one of two winners of this race to go on to win that feature on Dubai World Cup night – the other being Presvis in 2011.
Soumillon said: “I rode this horse work in the week and he really pleased me so I was pretty hopeful of a big run. He has done well after his break and can hopefully improve.”
De Kock added: “I actually thought he would need that so it is very pleasing and hopefully he can build on this.”
The Apache, by Storm Cat stallion Mogok, is owned by the partnership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and Winston Chow.
Christophe Soumillon, Mike de Kock and Lee Westwood.
Right Approach, now a stallion at Wilgerbosdrift Stud in South Africa, was part-owned by leading golfer Lee Westwood as is Rerouted, who formed the middle leg of De Kock’s treble and who initiated a double for Soumillon when leading close to home in a 1400m contest on the all-weather.
Westwood, who enjoyed a good afternoon on the golf course in the Dubai Desert Classic, said: “We have had some joy here in the past – especially Right Approach – and this horse has been running well in defeat so it is nice to see him win.”
Mushreq: Expected good win. (Photos by Andrew Watkins)
Earlier, Paul Hanagan had steered Sheikh Hamdan’s Mushreq to land the opening 2000m turf handicap to the delight of De Kock, who said: “That really was a case of third time lucky as I do not think I have had a more unlucky horse in my years campaigning here. Paul did the right thing to stay wide and the horse deserved that.” – emiratesracing.com.