BECAUSE of international shipping regulations, Mubtaahij’s regular groom wasn’t permitted to travel with him to the US on Thursday, 16 April. Assistant trainer Trevor Brown, and an exercise rider awaited the colt’s arrival in Chicago on Friday. De Kock also wanted to send his special feed mix along, but that also was forbidden.
It’s a lot to ask of a horse, and De Kock wouldn’t try it with just any colt. “I wouldn’t do it if he didn’t have the temperament for it,” he said. “Mubtaahij can get very fresh, but he’s a horse that’s not stupid. He’s very sensible.”
De Kock long ago established his international credentials. He has shipped horses around the globe and won big races. But the itinerary presented to him for Mubtaahij’s date at the Derby gave even De Kock pause.
“You don’t give it much thought at first,” the trainer said. “You think of going to the race, and then later, you start thinking about how you get there.”
Here’s how it works for Mubtaahij: The flight De Kock referenced on Thursday was bound for Amsterdam. There, Mubtaahij will change planes and fly to Chicago, take a short van ride from O’Hare Airport to Arlington. He will spend two days there in the USDA-certified quarantine facility. De Kock said he might keep Mubtaahij at Arlington an extra day or two, but one way or another, he then will travel by van to the Skylight Training Center in Goshen, Kentucky and be based there until the Tuesday before the Derby, when De Kock will send him on to Churchill Downs.
Mubtaahij is going to Skylight to train on the Polytrack surface there, keeping some degree of continuity with his training in Dubai, which has all been done on a Tapeta training track.
The day before he left, Mubtaahij worked 1400m after a warm-up canter and knowing Mubtaahij would spend the next five or six days doing nothing more strenuous than walking, De Kock said he put a fairly stiff work into a colt already fit after a busy winter of racing.
Mubtaahij might or might not prove good enough for what looks like a Derby field well above average, but for him, just getting there is half the battle. – Daily Racing Form.