“OUR runners were simply not good enough tonight,” said Mike de Kock after Thursday night’s Meydan meeting at which the stable posted a second, three thirds and a fourth place but couldn’t get a win on the board.
There were excuses for Wednaan (Meydan Classic, read elsewhere) and Vasily (Handicap, 2200m), but Mike felt that, with the exception of Gale Force Ten (Zabeel Mile) his other runners performed as well as they could, beaten by better rivals on the night.
Merhee was pipped a head into fifth in an all-weather sprint over 1200m; Lehaaf beat only one home in the same race. “Merhee suffered some interference, but it didn’t really affect his run, he had every chance. Lehaaf pulled up with a breathing noise, he has an issue we’ll have to look into.”
Jalotta confirmed his recent promise at home with what Mike thought was “a cracking run” – second to Irish-bred My Catch, a Gr3 winner in France last July. Jalotta could be aimed at the UAE Derby and Mike said: “Jalotta has more improvement to come. He’s all right, he’s showing a greater willingness to run and we’ll consider the Derby as a race for him.” (Headline photo by Andrew Watkins shows Jalotta (pink, green silks, Jim Crowley up, running on for second to My Catch).
Jalotta, coming to hand.
As expected, Ihtimal proved far too good for her opposition in the UAE Oaks, staging a ten-length victory described by Racing Post as “an incredible run… overpowering… a (petrifyingly fast) pivotal move off a slow pace.”
Mike predicted something along these lines in his preview and praised Godolphin’s emerging star as a filly that looks like she could “probably win any race she’s entered for.” He was happy with the stable’s Mensoora’s third place and Magrooma’s fourth to the talented Ihtimal and said: “Mensoora will improve a lot as she matures. We’ll put her away now, she’ll be an exciting prospect as a four-year-old.”
Mushreq did everything right, running a decent race in third to another impressive winner Mshawish in the Zabeel Mile. “It was perhaps a touch too short for Mushreq and he wasn’t disgraced. The winner has good European Group form and he’s improving, he looks like a top horse. We’d like to go next to the Jebel Hatta with Mushreq and then to the Dubai Duty Free.”
Mushreq (Paul Hanagan): Another good run.
Gale Force Ten, an impressive galloper at home, turned in another disappointing performance, finishing last of the seven in this race. Mike and the team are scratching their heads and he said: “We had Gale Force Ten very well for this mile and we expected a lot more from him, but he just never kicked a yard. He faded out again and he has us baffled, he’s not reproducing his work.”
Alexandra Palace, enjoying his racing, ran on steadily in the Al Naboodah Cargo Centre Trophy over 2200m. Mike agreed that this was a very good run and noted that he would be looking for a suitable option next for the son of Jet Master. Vasily, who’d set the pace before dropping away, suffered a shifted palate.
Alexandra Palace’s conqueror, Thai’Ir, was soundly beaten by Sanshaawes recently. This is a promising form pointer to the South African-bred four-year-old’s next run, a handicap over 2000m on turf, scheduled for Meydan this Saturday.