MUBTAAHIJ put up a pleasing breeze (exercise gallop) on the Polytrack at Arlington Park in Chicago on Tuesday morning, 21 April. This was the three-year-old Kentucky Derby hopeful’s first public stretch since his arrival in the US last weekend.
Mubtaahij, partnered by his regular work rider Lisa Moncrieff, breezed over a mile alongside his stable companion Umgiyo, ridded by assistant trainer Trevor Brown. They went at an easy pace for the first 800m and then picked it up steadily going into the final 600m, completing the three-furlong kick in 37,5s, with a reported 11,9s for the last 200m.
Umgiyo (front) and Mubtaahij, at their Arlington Park barn.
Brown sent mikedekockracing.com a recorded WhatsApp message from the warmth and comfort of his city hotel an hour or two after the workout and quipped: “It’s so cold here in Chicago I can’t move my lips outside. I don’t think ice cubes would want to come out of the refrigerator!”
He said about the morning breeze: “Mubtaahij and Umgiyo worked very well, both enjoyed the exercise and they were fresh and happy afterwards. They’ve settled in here now, they’re eating well, cleaning up their mangers. They’re in a barn with good ventilation. Everything around their preparation is fine and on target.
Mubtaahij on the polytrack, Tuesday morning. (Thanks to Mike Wilkening on Twitter).
“As for Mubtaahij, I think his time of 37.5s was pretty good considering we worked him on the bridle, he wasn’t pushed, just raced along keenly against the bit.”
The chilly conditions would have kept a number of track watchers away from Arlington Park but Brown told: “There is lots of interest in our visit. I’ve had many phone calls from the press and questions from the public. There were a dozen or so fans at the breeze this morning taking photos and making videos. I know Mike has fielded his fair share of queries back in South Africa too. Mike’s going to have his hands full here, but it’s all really very exciting for us. We can’t wait for the big day, it’s wonderful to be involved with a Derby contender.”
Mubtaahij and Umgiyo are likely to work on the polytrack again this weekend and Brown said: “Mike will confirm whether the pair will have another breeze on Saturday or Sunday. They will be trucked to Kentucky next Monday, provisionally at 10am.”
Four-year-old Umgiyo, incidentally, has been entered for the Woodford Reserve over 1800m on turf – which will add further South African and UAE interest to Derby Day. He’s a South African-owned gelding by Danehill Dancer who won over this distance during the Dubai Carnival in February, placed third in the Gr2 Dubai City Of Gold over 2410m and ended his 2015 UAE campaign beaten 8.50-lengths in the strong Gr1 Dubai Turf over 1800m on World Cup night.
Mubtaahij: Settled down, happy and eating up.