THURSDAY sees the first of this week’s Double Header at Meydan and eight of Mike de Kock’s runners will contest the meeting.
The stable’s best chance of a winner might come in Race 5, a Handicap over 1400m on turf in which free-striding runners Mastermind (Paul Hanagan) and Banaadeer (AUS) (Dane O’Neill), go to post along with Mutamakkin (Wayne Smith).
“Mastermind and Banaadeer are both extremely well,” Mike noted. “They have similar styles of running, they want to be up with the pace and Mastermind needs cover. Banaadeer almost kept going to beat Anaerobio last time, he enjoyed this trip, so both are bound to be involved at the serious end of the race. We were disappointed when Mutamakkin finished downfield last time, but he pulled up with respiratory noises and we got on top of that. He has a big chance at best.”
Banaadeer (white blinkers, right), could go one better this time. (Andrew Watkins).
Al Mashooqa (Hanagan) gets an opportunity to build on her recent improvement in the Listed Meydan Classic over 1400m on turf. “She’s coming along the right way now, she has a place chance,” said Mike.
Stable newcomer Vale Dori (ARG) (Christophe Soumillon), a daughter of Asiatic Boy, finds herself in a three-runner UAE Oaks over 1900m on dirt and is assured of earning a stake, but she has to face the unbeaten Polar River and Mike commented: “Vale Dori is a very talented but problematic filly, she had a setback when she came to us earlier in the Carnival. She’s enjoyed a good last few weeks, she is well but comes off a layoff and with the champion Polar River in the race it won’t be easy. We’ll see where we stand with her.”
In the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (2810m on turf, Race 8), Tellina (Ryan Moore) and Star Empire (Soumillon), will race against a host of seasoned Carnival stayers and they have chances in an open contest.
“Star Empire is still as well as ever, he likes the track and trip and has as good a chance as any. Tellina will be trying more ground, his work is good and his heart rates suggest that he will enjoy the extra ground. When he raced in South Africa he ran on well every time he was tried beyond 2000m, so we’re hoping for a good showing.”
Whistle Stop is another talented but problematic sort – he gets a run in a handicap over 2000m on turf and O’Neill gets the ride. “Whistle Stop has the ability, he ran a cracker to Sanshaawes over the course and distance back in January and on that he has a money chance.”