THE headline photo shows three-year-old Raaees (nearest camera), pipping second-placed Gemini Gold in a driving finish to Race 4 over 1600m at Scottsville on Tuesday afternoon.
The Australian-bred made heavy weather of winning his Maiden under jockey Warren Kennedy, but he’s a beautifully-bred colt and like many of Mike de Kock’s lightly-raced young horses has plenty of improvement to come as he matures over the next several months.
Raaees was in touch with the leaders racing to the final bend. He found himself sandwiched between runners – just as well because the company on both sides kept him in a pocket and probably helped him to negotiate his way into the home run.
With Kennedy pushing away to keep his mind on racing, Raaees quickly drew level with the pacemakers and then stayed on gamely to hold off his challengers on a soft track.
“Raaees was green on the bend and then moved up smartly. I thought he would run away from them but he didn’t, he just kept his head in front,” commented Kennedy. “I’m glad we finally got him into a race, he missed a few runs due to rain. He’s still learning and will improve.”
Assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen said: “Raaees wants further and all he could do is win today.”
Raaees is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Al Adiyaat (SA). He’s by Duke Of Marmalad from the Zabeel-mare, Rasasa and was bred by Epsom Lodge (Queensland) and Coolmore.