MUBTAAJIH (headline photo) is very well ahead of the “Super Saturday” meeting at Meydan this Saturday.
Mike de Kock, who has returned to Dubai after a few days attending the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, said on Wednesday morning that he made Mubtaahij (Christophe Soumillon) a “big runner” in the Gr3 Al Maktoum Challenge over 2000m on dirt.
“Mubtaahij has had a very good preparation for this race, we’re happy with where he is,” Mike said of the 119-rated four-year-old who will be coming up against the likes of Keen Ice, who won the Gr1 Travers Stakes on dirt defeating American Pharoah last August.
Mubtaahij, very good preparation.
Also in the race are Mubtaahij’s stable companions Golden Soul (USA) (Wayne Smith) and Pylon (SAF) (Royston Ffrench) and Mike said: “Golden Soul’s owner is keen to give him a try on dirt in Dubai, he has some decent dirt form from earlier in his career, we’ll see how he goes. Pylon has come on from his last run, but will have to improve to run into the money.”
Soumillon will be doing duties for the Aga Khan in the Dubai City Of Gold over 2410m on turf that precedes the Maktoum Challenge and the formidable Ryan Moore will be aboard the Blue Stables stalwart Sanshaawes. The six-year-old has a win and three places to show from four runs this term and Mike said: “We’ll be chuffed if Sanshaawes can get into the first three. Perhaps Ryan is our ticket.”
The other superb race on the day is the Gr1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m on turf, an important race for a number of Gr1 Dubai Turf hopefuls. Mike holds a strong hand with four of the ten contenders and said: “I’d say Ertijaal (AUS) (Paul Hanagan) is the one to beat, but I am not going to side with any one of the four, they’re all fit, well and talented.
“Ertijaal reverts to turf, the style of sand racing just didn’t suit him last time – turf is his game, he is very well. We spoke about Johan Strauss (Soumillon) last week, he’s a horse with lots of ability and this is his last chance to dance, he will have to run right up there to get into the Dubai Turf. We’re pushing it a bit with Zahee (Smith), but it’s his last chance also for this season.
“Prayer For Relief (Moore) is an interesting runner because by all accounts he’s at his very best over 1700m and 1800m – it shows in his form. We have nothing to lose switching from dirt to turf with him. There is a lot at stake here and he has some good form on the all-weather track which is considered close to turf, and he doesn’t strike me as an out-and-out sand horse, he gets one-paced early and runs like a horse who wants the turf.”