MIKE de Kock provided the winner of the featured 1600m turf handicap at Meydan in Dubai on Saturday with Almoonqith landing the spoils under Paul Hanagan riding for his main employer, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The stable’s Lehaaf was close-up in third.
Winner’s circle: Almoonqith (Paul Hanagan up).
Having failed to fire on the dirt last week, Hanagan’s mount clearly relished the return to turf and was always going nicely for Hanagan. The pair stalked the early pace, enjoying a clear passage, before Hanagan asked his mount to chase Genius Boy who had tried to make all under Adrie De Vries.
As game as Genius Boy was, Almoonqith always looked to have his measure and led in the final 200m to record a second local victory having also won an 1800m turf handicap at Meydan last year.
“He has now won both his turf outings at Meydan,” said Hanagan. “The dirt just did not suit him last week but with that run under his belt we were pretty hopeful today.
“I was always going nicely and happy with him during the race. The second tried to get away from us but I always thought we would get there. It was a decent effort from both horses as we pulled away from the others.”
Mastermind (left), a good Dubai debut.
Eearlier on the day, Hanagan had steered Sheikh Hamdan’s Mastermind to a good second in a Handicap over 1200m on turf, running at Meydan for the first time after being shipped from South Africa for the 2015 Carnival.
Alareef, another newcomer to the UAE, making his debut in a dirt Handicap over 1400m, showed promise in fourth.
(Photos by Andrew Watkins).