MUSHREQ (photo) and Await The Dawn posted stunning wins on another successful Dubai Carnival night for Mike de Kock’s stable at Meydan on Thursday.
Await The Dawn put the yard on the board early, winning a handicap over 2000m on turf and Mushreq took the Gr 2 Al Fahidi Fort over 1600m on turf in commanding fashion from his rested stablemates Masterofhounds (2nd) and Musir (4th), who both produced eye-catching comeback runs.
In both winners Mike has the fabric that serious horses are made of and he said: “Mushreq has been a revelation. He’s made the kind of rapid improvement we last saw from Lizard’s Desire here a few seasons ago before he ran his great race in the Dubai World Cup. Mushreq’s getting better and stronger every day and he’s defied his penalties. He’s just doing everything right, going the right way.”
Paul Hanagan returns to the winner’s circle on Mushreq.
Mushreq (Paul Hanagan) beat a talented field in the Al Fahidi Fort, giving Mike his fifth win in the race since Ipi Tombe burst onto the scene at Nad Al Sheba in 2003. The merit of Mushreq’s win will warrant a re-think of the stable’s immediate plans for him and Mike said: “After this top class performance I feel like putting him on ice and going straight into the Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night, but we’ll have to discuss the way forward with Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold.”
Mike was also excited about Masterofhounds (“he surprised us”) and Musir (“showed some of his old sparkle and ran a good race”) – both are likely to hold entries in suitable races on the big night at the end of March. The pair had only been back in work in Dubai for a little while, making considerable progress.
Await The Dawn, an easy winner.
The stable’s most satisfying feat on the night, however, was Await The Dawn’s stylish success in a turf contest over 2000m. The six-year-old entire by Giant’s Causeway galloped home boldly under “Pikey” Pat Cosgrave in his second outing for his new handler.
Await The Dawn had won five of his first six starts in the UK, including the 2011 Gr2 Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot, but was sidelined after injuring himself in the 2012 Dubai Duty Free.
Mike told: “Await The Dawn was what we call a ‘project’ horse. He’s suffered a multitude of problems and we got him from Coolmore as a challenge, a long-term project. I’m happy to say everything has come together for him, it was a massive team effort and I’m very proud.
“Await The Dawn spent two months with Fozzy Stack in Ireland. He ran around the paddock with an old hack and it did him the world of good. It’s hard to get horses of this calibre – he was rated 121 and came down to a 118 for last night’s race, but he’s a horse with serious ability, a proper thoroughbred.”
Await The Dawn returns to applause, Pat Cosgrave all chuffed.
Mike said he would have a “good think” about where to go next with Await The Dawn. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for a horse he rates up there with the big guns.
Await The Dawn’s part-owner Gary Grant, watching the race from Durban, commented: “The lease from Coolmore connections was negotiated by the usual suspects, Jehan Malherbe, Mike and the ‘Hairy Doc’ (John McVeigh). Mike and the team have done wonders to get him back to good form, well done!”
Racing Post analyst Ron Wood liked what he saw from Await The Dawn and wrote on racingpost.co.uk. “He travelled strongly before striding out well for pressure and he should be competitive back in Group company.”
Photos by Andrew Watkins.