MUBTAAHIJ will be staying on in the US to be aimed at the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes to be run over 2400m on 6 June at Belmont Park in New York, Mike de Kock confirmed on Monday afternoon.
This is a change from the original plan to ship Mubtaahij to the UK and Mike commented: “After Saturday’s Kentucky Derby we had some time to reflect on his performance. We watched the race replay, spoke to some people and got opinion. Mubtaahij ran a decent race and his owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum agreed that his run was good enough to keep him here for a tilt at the Belmont.”
Mike said that Mubtaahij would remain at Churchill Downs for a few more days until all the necessary administrative arrangements had been made, including US insurances required. He said: “We will send Mubtaahij up to Belmont Park and Mathew de Kock will stay on with Trevor Brown and Lisa Moncrieff to prepare him for the Belmont Stakes.
“Going for the Preakness with Mubtaahij will be hard. He will be up against the first three past the post in the Derby, the race is two weeks away and is run over 100m shorter than the Derby. The Belmont Stakes suits us best. Mubtaahij will see out the 2400m, we have more than a month to prepare him. Mubtaahij will be more settled and he’ll be better for it, he’ll come on from his Derby run.”
Mike and Diane return to South Africa on Tuesday.