MIKE de Kock has won the Dubai Racing Carnival’s Al Rashidiya over 1800m on turf at Meydan the last three times (six times overall). In fielding three of seven runners carded for the 2015 renewal of the Gr2 contest on Thursday evening he has a good chance of winning it four times straight and seven times in total.
Mike will be sending last year’s surprise winner Mujaarib (Paul Hanagan) to post along with the formidable Vercingetorix (Christophe Soumillon) and well-performed Sanshaawes (Dane O’Neill) and with good runner reports supplied he sounds confident of fighting out the finish.
Athough Sanshaawes will probably have a slight edge on fitness over his stablemates, Mike still feels Vercingetorix will be the best of the three and he commented: “We’ve reported a few times that Vercingetorix is a lazy work horse and nothing has changed, he is still hard to gauge on the work track. But you will recall that things were much the same last year. He wasn’t setting the track alight before his Dubai debut, but he won a good race after a long rest.
Vercingetorix is lazy in home gallops, but it’s a different story when he goes under starter’s orders!
“The difference this year is that Vercingetorix is moving a lot better, his soundness and his well-being is very good and he looks really well. We’re hoping that this generally markedly improved pre-race picture will manifest in another good run rested so yes, he will be the stable elect.”
He said about Sanshaawes: “He is quite fit, he gives of his best. He was beaten under four lengths in a Listed race after a break last time and he’s improved, he’s come on a few lengths. He should be in the shake-up.
“Mujaarib also hides on the work track, he doesn’t show what he is capable of but again this is what we saw last year before he came out to surprise us in this very race. He likes to run fresh, he is well within himself and should go well.”
Meydan presents a double-bill this weekend featuring a non-Carnival meeting on Saturday in addition to Thursday’s main meeting. The Saturday meet is dealt with elsewhere on this site. Below are comments for the other races on Thursday:
Race 2: Handicap over 1000m on turf:
Fountain Of Youth (IRE) – (Soumillon) and Banaadeer (AUS)- (Hanagan)
“Fountain Of Youth is a newcomer by Oasis Dream, he has joined us from Aiden O’Brien’s stable having won twice over 1000m, including a Gr3. He’s starting to show us a fair bit of good work and he should run a decent race but I’d say we have him about 80% fit so there is room for improvement.
“Banaadeer has thrived since he left South Africa, he is doing exceptionally well and has been impressive here in the UAE. He comes off a rest and he’s up against older horses but this is the minimum trip, both his wins have come over 1000m. If his work is anything to go by he’ll be right there, he could make his mark in this sprint.”
Race 3: Handicap over 1600m on dirt:
“Alareef showed that he can handle the dirt at Meydan running into fourth after a rest last time. He’s improved, he’ll enjoy the mile and we’ll be fitting him with blinkers, he’s a big runner.”
Alareef (right), made a good sand debut at Meydan.
Race 7: Handicap over 2000m on turf:
Mushreq (Hanagan), El Estruendoso (Soumillon) and Almoonqith (O’Neill)
“Mushreq has a big weight to shoulder, but he takes a massive drop in class and he’s in excellent form. He ran very well in the Listed race won by True Story on 8 January and he’s improved since then. He has won over this course and distance and should go close, he’s a serious runner.
“El Estruendoso hasn’t showed what he is capable of so far this season. He should do better here , however. This is his third run following a rest and while I still believe he is not as good as his rating, we’re trying blinkers and a tongue tie which could make a difference.
“AlMoonqith takes a step up in class and this will be a test, he has a tough task and the race will show whether he is up to it. He’s progressive and doing nicely, though, and he’s come on steadily since winning on turf recently. Let’s hold thumbs he comes into play.”
Photos courtesy of “Romeo” Watkins.