IRISH-bred Mubtaahij (photo) stamped himself as a Dubai Triple Crown contender for 2015 with a powerful win in Thursday evening’s $USD75,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Trial over 1400m on dirt at Meydan.
Mubtaahij took command of the race on the turn for home, saw off a brief challenge from stable companion Ajwad and strode on to a five-length success under jockey Dane O’Neill.
Mubtaahij had made marked improvement since his Maiden win on New Year’s Eve and while Mike de Kock expected a big run, he was surprised that Mubtaahij disposed of his rivals with such ease.
Considering his win over a mile, Mike said of this victory over seven furlongs: “I didn’t expect Mubtaahij to have so much gas in this race. He’s a smart horse, he’s by Dubawi and is suited to dirt. Dane rode a good race. Mubtaahij does look like a real Triple Crown contender.”
Mike plans for Mubtaahij to take in the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup day via the 2000 Guineas.
“I felt that given the dirt, as things are, it is good to give horses experience,” he said. “Experience does them no harm at all. With these Classic races you need to be hard and fit. I might leave the Al Bastikaya and go for the  Guineas and Derby.”
Ajwad stayed on and just managed to hold off a late rush from Godolphin’s Maftool and Mike was pleased: “Ajwad ran a huge race, he was underdone and needed the run, so he’ll improve nicely.”
Owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum ( Mubtaahij right), awarded the UAE2000 Guineas Trial Trophy.
(Photos by Andrew Watkins).
Ad Idem, the first new South African arrival to run for the stable at the Carnival, made a most encouraging UAE debut – beaten a neck in the UAE1000 Guineas Trial over 1400m on dirt. She was just nabbed on the line by the favourite Local Time (the third horse 10 lengths behind them) and Mike said: “Ad Idem was impressive and surprising tonight, to go so close needing the run showed us that she’ll be up to the task here and it was good to see she liked the dirt.”
The stalwart Star Empire produced his customary game run after a long lay-off and earned another stake cheque, taking third to Haafaguinea in the Jebel Ali Port, but El Estruendoso was beaten several lengths again, unplaced. “El Estruendoso is running off a rating that much too high. He’s probably closer to a 90 than his current rating of 105,” Mike noted again.
He was happy with Royal Ridge’s improvement in the 1600m contest on turf, he crossed the line in midfield but was only two lengths off the winner, with Captain Lars fading to finish a further 2.5-lengths back. “Captain Lars got tired, this run will bring him on and we’ll see a fitter horse next time.”