UMGIYO confirmed Mike de Kock’s view that he had improved and settled down with more maturity.
The four-year-old gelding won a quality handicap over 1800m on turf at Meydan in Dubai on Thursday night, following a 10-month break and having to endure the tiresome travelling and quarantine schedule to get to his new base.
Umgiyo (blue, pink silks on the left), ran on impressively. (Andrew Watkins).
Last for most of the way, Umgiyo was pulled wide early in the straight by Christophe Soumillon. They swooped to the front to deny Ocean Tempest and Tenor, both representing England and trainer John Ryan. The De Kock-trained Rock Cocktail finished in fourth.
“Umgiyo picked up nicely when I asked him,” said Soumillon after the 1.25-length success. “They went pretty quick which has helped him.
“He had been working well so we were quite hopeful. He will improve for the outing as well.”
Speaking from the CTS Premier Yearling Sale in Cape Town, Mike commented: “This was a very good and rewarding win and well done to the owners, who have been patient with Umgiyo. He has Group potential, he’s a smart horse and depending on his penalty we’ll look for a handicap or go for a Graded feature.
“As for Rock Cocktail, his run was encouraging. He was a bit burly, needed the run and was only beaten a few lengths. He will make good progress with this run behind him.”
Umgiyo, Irish-bred by Danehill Dancer, races for a number of partners: Warne and Wendy Rippon (of Sun Classique fame), Gary Grant and Chris Haynes of the Equine Group, Dr John and Mrs Amanda McVeigh, Noeline Malherbe, Mr M Achmed and Mr and Mrs R Chada.
Zahee (3rd) and Anaerobio (4th), both ran close to their best form in the Gr2 Al Fahidi Fort over 1600m, won by Godolphin’s useful Safety Check. Red Ray, however, missed the frame after finding solid support in the market.
Mike commented: “Red Ray raced too free and fresh and just needed it, we did expect more but his run was actually not as average as it may have appeared. He was only beaten six lengths and if you consider that the winner was four lengths ahead of the second horse, there is every reason to feel upbeat about Red Ray’s run. He’ll go on from here.”