TREASURE BEACH (photo) is Mike de Kock’s representative in Saturday’s $US10 million Gr1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan, on a day when more than 100 horses from 13 countries will battle it out for the richest horseracing prizes on the planet.
Two South African champions of last season are set for the biggest paydays of their careers, reports ROBERT GARNER.
This is the Olympics of horseracing and there are more than 40 Grade 1 winners among the runners carded, including champions from Australasia, Japan and the USA.
Winning won’t come easy and the pace, luck and catching the right wave in the charge to the line will be more critical than normal.
All that said, it could easily be another huge night for South African horseracing.
Mike has 13 runners carded and will have at least one runner in each of the eight races for thoroughbreds.
Heknows better than anybody what it takes to win here. He first went to the UAE back in 2003, when he rode into town at the head of a five-horse army.
Few knew about him when he arrived, but he was the talk of the town by the time the curtain came down on Dubai World Cup that year. His charges Victory Moon and Ipi Tombe won the UAE Derby and Dubai Duty Free respectively, putting South African horseracing and Mike De Kock on the international map in the space of a few hours.
So who does the leading international trainer at Dubai World Cup think are his three best shots at a big win this time round?
“Shea Shea, Soft Falling Rain and Zahee,” was his prompt response this week.
“Shea Shea must have a strong chance in the Al Quoz after his win on Super Saturday and I’m not losing any sleep about Soft Falling Rain’s wide draw in the Godolphin Mile. It could work in his favour. Sixteen horses over 1600m on the all-weather track are too many, nearly reckless, and being out wide may keep him out of trouble,” he said.
“Zahee may just lack that touch of class, but he’s improving and will run a solid race,” he added.
His other big runners on the night comprise Treasure Beach in the topliner, Await The Dawn in the $5-million Sheema Classic and Igugu, The Apache and Mushreq in the $5-million Dubai Duty Free.
All come into the reckoning. “Treasure Beach ran a good trial on his first start for me and his first on the all-weather track. His best efforts have been over further, but he’s got speed and should be all over them at the finish. I would have liked a bit more time with him.
“Await The Dawn has overcome his problems and is a top horse. Give him a pace and some luck and he’ll be a player.
“Hopefully we have sorted out Igugu’s hormone issues and she has improved since her last run. Wherever she runs, she’ll be better in England later this year when I can get more work into her. The Apache should run a sound race and Mushreq is in really good form, but it’s a hot race,” De Kock said.
TAB will host the global tote pools on the Dubai World Cup and that will ensure big pools, which coupled with the inevitable upsets, should provide opportunities for some tidy wins.
The meeting will be televised live on Tellytrack.