THIS photo of Tannaaf (IRE) cantering on the track was snapped a few weeks ago in Qatar by Sue Finley (@suefinley on Twitter), Publisher of Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN).
Sue was quite keen on Tannaaf before the running of the Qatar Derby and her assessment proved to be spot-on when Mike de Kock’s runner stormed up late to share the spoils with Rogue Runner.
Tannaaf has returned to Dubai and Mike has entered him for Thursday night’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum District One Handicap over 2435m at Meydan, a different ball-game following the Derby’s 2000m at Al Rayyan, but there is enough confidence in the camp to suggest that the colt has a fair chance of a follow-up win.
Mike, who flew in to Cape Town on Tuesday for this week’s Cape Premier Yearling Sale, said: “We don’t foresee a problem with the trip, Tannaaf will stay. It’s a competitive line-up, however and if there are to be any concerns they will be that he had to spend time in quarantine coming back and that this will be his second run following a lay-off.
“Tannaaf looks the part though and his work is good. We’ll see how the Qatar form works out at Meydan but of course he has good UK form to back him up. He is possibly still under-rated and should be a big runner.”
Stable jock Christophe Soumillon will be taking the reins from Wayne Smith on Tannaaf, he will also be partnering Sanshaawes in the District One Trophy over 2000m on turf, a race in which Whistle Stop (Paul Hanagan) will also come under starter’s orders.
Mike gave Sanshaawes a slight preference and said: “He impressed us with a good third when Star Empire won, he was staying on late off a good pace and he has been doing well at home since, he can fight it out.
“Whistle Stop needed it over 1400m last time out and he was plugging away late, we’re expecting lots of improvement over the longer distance.”
The evening’s topliner is the Al Fahidi Fort, a Gr2 feature Mike has won six times since 2003. He regards this as an average renewal of the contest, yet believes it won’t be easy to win with any of the stable’s runners Royal Ridge (Richard Mullen), Mastermind (Smith) Tellina (Sam Hitchcott) and Anaerobio (Soumillon).
“Royal Ridge is out at the ratings, he ran well on dirt last time and reverts to turf, we’ll be looking for a fair run and some more improvement, but not expecting him to challenge for top honours. Mastermind is a nice horse with good form, he ran very well at last year’s Carnival, won over the course and distance and was Listed placed, but he takes a massive step up in class. Time will tell if he’s up to it.
“Tellina will be having his first run for us and his first in Dubai. We’re happy with him, he seems to have settled in well but this is a trip too short. We have other races in mind for him this season and he hasn’t shown us much in work so far, but he has class. I have a feeling he is the type of horse who reserves his best for race days and we’re looking forward to seeing what he has to offer.
“As far Anaerobio, he’s a game old soldier, eight years old and still going strong. He and Christophe won this race in 2014 so he is capable. If he can produce near his best at this stage of his career he will be in with a chance.”
Banaadeer seems much better than his recent form and Mike agrees that the four-year-old has been disappointing. He’ll go to post in the District One over 1000m on turf and Mike commented: “Banaadeer didn’t try a yard last time. We’ll be fitting him with blinkers so he can show more early interest. He certainly has the ability and we’re expecting better.”