RACING writer Steve Haskin is a Kentucky Derby fanatic who annually presents his “Derby Dozen” on Bloodhorse.com.
Steve Haskin (bloodhorse.com)
This week Haskin added Mubtaahij as his horse “bubbling under” at No 13 and he writes:
I came oh so close to putting the Mike de Kock-trained Mubtaahij on the Dozen, but for now I have him unofficially at No. 13
If you look at the whole picture, this colt has all the qualifications to be a serious Derby contender. First off, de Kock, one of the world’s greatest trainers, would not bring him if he didn’t feel he had a big chance. The horse has already won at about 1 3/16 miles, so in a world where most horses are a guess to get the distance, he’s already been close to running that far, and on that deep Meydan surface he might as well have run the full Derby distance.
In the Al Bastakiya, the second leg of the Dubai Triple Crown, he had no trouble defeating Sir Fever, an undefeated “4-year-old” Southern Hemisphere champion who was 10-for-10 in his career, sweeping the Uruguayan Triple Crown with ease before being sold to Godolphin. To show how slow the track was, Mubtaahij ran the about 1 3/16 miles in 1:59. By comparison, African Story, last year’s Dubai World Cup winner, won the third leg of the Maktoum Challenge, covering the about 1 1/4 miles in 2:04 4/5.
Mubtaahij (Dane O”Neill) after the Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday. (Andrew Watkins).
Mubtaahij has a fascinating pedigree that has a strong mile influence, but enough stamina to get him classic distances. His sire Dubawi is by the runaway Dubai World Cup winner Dubai Milennium. His broodmare sire, Pennekamp, bred by Magalen O. Bryant, who bred last year’s Travers’ winner V.E. Day, won the 2,000 Guineas and a pair of other group I races. Pennekamp is by French Derby winner and Arc de Triomphe runner-up Bering, who is by the great Sea-Bird’s group I-winning son Arctic Tern.
Mubtaahij also is inbred to the great racehorse and sire Mill Reef. He seems to have all the tools, is three-for-four on dirt, his only defeat coming when he was beaten a head by Godolphin’s Maftool in the UAE 2,000 Guineas after having crushed Maftool in the Guineas Trial. If he gets enough points in the UAE Derby, he likely will head to Churchill Downs, as would Maftool.
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