THE highly competitive nature of Dubai Carnival racing naturally limits confident predictions, but it would come as no surprise to see Mike de Kock strike with a winner in the first half of Meydan’s race programme on Super Saturday.
The De Kock team will put the bridles on Zahee and Emotif before Race 2, the Listed Al Bastakiya over 1900m on the all-weather, while Shea Shea will circle the paddock ahead of Race 3, the Listed Meydan Sprint over 1000m on turf.
Emotif: No fireworks expected yet. (Andrew Watkins).
Mike discussed the Al Bastakiya with Sarah Tregoning of Newzpoint Media and said: “Zahee has come on a lot recently. He arrived here from Australia and started a bit late, but he’s made marked improvement and he’s raced well too. His fitness is up to scratch now, he’s a big runner.”
A lot’s been said about Zahee’s female stablemate Emotif who, in two runs following serious illness, lacked zest and match-fitness. If she’s back to herself, Emotif will cover her rival muzzles in Tapeta as she kicks away, but Mike’s gut feel says she’s still a measure short of what she is truly capable of.
“Emotif has had a tough time here in Dubai,” he told mikedekockracing.com on Friday. “She’s starting to turn the corner, she’s fitter now, but things haven’t fully clicked for her. Also, I’m still not certain she acts on the all-weather. We are keen to see how she goes this time, but I have a feeling she’s not quite there yet,” Mike said.
There is a lot more stable confidence about Shea Shea, however. If he runs to his 119 rating the five-year-old speed merchant will take some beating in the Meydan Sprint. By the sound of it he’s not far off his top-class best.
“Shea Shea is doing really well,” Mike said. “He just needed his first run after his worldwide travels last time and he’s a different horse now. He’s improved several lengths and should go close.”