IN the current world economic climate stock market experts advise a diversified spread of equities with some exposure across the borders – the stabilising features that Mike de Kock was pleased to have in his thoroughbred portfolio on Thursday.
Commenting on the stable’s performance for the day, he said: “We had some setbacks and a mixed bag of results for the day, one success in Dubai, happy about that and we came through with two good winners in South Africa.”
Jockey Paul Hanagan (Mastermind) shares his delight with Angus Gold after the running of the Meydan Classic Trial. (Andrew Watkins).
Stock market players who pull their hair out and reach for their nine-mills when indicators starts zigzagging on their charts should best get the hell out of their high-rises. Those who know that 19th century poet Matthew Arnold’s “eternal note of sadness” will always be replaced by “a calm sea, a full tide.. vast and glimmering cliffs” will not jump off the nearest one, have another drink and sit it out!
So are the ebbs and flows of the racing game – a below-par Dubai meeting behind them, Mike and his team are already hard at work preparing runners for next week.
At Meydan, two of the disappointments Ad Idem (UAE1000 Guineas) and Captain Lars (Turf Handicap, 1600m), were reported to have bled after their respective races, explaining their failures to perform to best ability. Captain Lars was suspended. Whistle Stop, in turn, ran away with his jockey and had to be withdrawn at the start.
Mike noted on Merhee (beaten 8,25 lengths in a Sprint Handicap): “He never had his mind on running, never tried at all and probably wants to be retired.”
Perhaps eight-year-old Star Empire (unplaced in a Stayers Handicap over 2810m) is also nearing the end of his career and Mike said: “He was only three lengths off the winner but he’s better than that, he’s getting old.”
The hitherto unbeaten Forries Waltz, as reported in Mike’s preview not at his best, crossed the line seven lengths behind Mastermind but is likely to improve considerably now and Mike commented: “He really needed the outing and got badly hampered down the back straight.”
Ajeeb (fancied for a good run in the Captain Lars race but well beaten), was “not trotting well after the race” while Royal Ridge’s show in the same contest, was “just a disappointing run”.
Every cloud has a silver lining! (Andrew Watkins)
Now to the encouraging moments.
Fountain At Youth moved up and delivered a challenge of sorts in the mentioned opening sprint and knowing that he was lengths off his peak, Mike noted: “This was an improved effort”.
Sharasal gave of her best in the UAE1000 Guineas, staying on for third, and this won’t be the last stake she earns in the UAE.
In the Mastermind race, new acquisition Toscanelli put up a respectable effort in third after showing little in work and Mike said: “He ran a very good race, surprising us and we’ll be looking for further progress.”
Mickdaam, last into the straight, pulled wide and shifting about in the last 400m, ran on best of all in the Star Empire race and the video replay leaves little doubt that he would have won had the race been just 20-odd metres longer, or arguably also if he’d focused and kept a straight course at the business end.
“Mickdaam was very pleasing. He has potential as a stayer,” said Mike about the talented six-year-old who can yet make amends if all goes well and there’s a suitable race for him in the next few weeks.
Flying The Flag beat his more fancied stable companions home in the 1600m handicap at the end of the night, beaten only 2.75-lengths by Samurai Sword. He was also short of a run and his trainer said: “This was “very a nice run over the trip, he is better over further.”
On to Mastermind, who won the $US75,000 Meydan Classic Trial over 1400m for Sheikh Hamdan and jockey Paul Hanagan. He led virtually from gun to tape, quickened well after the home bend and then ran on gamely to hold off a determined challenger for a half-a-length win. “I think this was most impressive,” Mike assessed.
Hanagan commented: “Mastermind ran very well the other day. We had a great draw in two today so the idea was always to be positive. He always seemed happy bowling along in front and when I have needed to ask him for an effort he has found plenty. He should stay further and can hopefully go on from this.”
Extracts taken from “Dover Beach” (published 1867), by Matthew Arnold.