GR1 2015 Cape Guineas winner Noah From Goa makes his first appearance in Dubai in Thursday’s Gr2 Al Fahidi Fort over 1400m on turf at Meydan, a race Mike de Kock has already won six times and will expect to take again with a horse of this calibre.
The drawback is that Mike considers Noah From Goa (Christophe Soumillon) to be only 80-85% fit and, having suffered a setback en route to the UAE, the four-year-old gelding by Tiger Ridge will have to draw on his natural class and ability to dispose of his rivals after a 375-day rest.
Mike commented: “Noah From Goa spent a long time travelling and his training was interrupted by a substantial setback at Newmarket, but nothing’s come in the way since his arrival here in Dubai. He’s doing well and we’re expecting a good run short of his peak, he will improve for it.”
The field is competitive. Recent winner Flash Fire and recent second, Championship, are speedy sorts who will make things hot up front, while Mike expects the stable’s old-timer, Anaerobio (the winner of this race in 2014), to have a say in the finish too as he reunites with Pat Cosgrave, who won on him over the course and distance back in 2013.
He said: “The nine-year-old is very well, he has been flying around the work track. He is well drawn this time and if he can reproduce his work he will be in the first three.”
Comments for other Thursday runners:
Alareef (Race 1, Handicap over 1600m on dirt, Dane O’Neill)
“He is well exposed and not running over his best trip. Needed his last run, will do better and we’re hoping for a place.”
Dream Dubai (Handicap on turf over 1,000m, Bernard Fayd’Herbe)
“Dream Dubai is an interesting four-year-old, this is his first run for us. He looks quite a nice horse, he was Gr2 placed over 1200m in the UK and had a few decent runs at high level. We’re starting over 1,000m, it’s too short but we need to get him going and he will improve a lot with this run behind him.”
Tannaaf (Soumillon) and Whistle Stop (O’Neill), in a Handicap on turf over 2000m)
“Tanaaf needs the run. He’s enjoyed a break and he runs well fresh, but I’m not convinced, the race will show. Whistle Stop, on the other hand, should be at his fittest now. He’s quirky, a handful at work as he needs to be restrained. His races have helped to get him fit and he’s been getting closer. He should run well, he is as fit as I’ve seen him.”
JEBEL ALI, FRIDAY 20 JANUARY
Race 3, Jebel Ali Mile on dirt, Saltarin Dubai (Pat Cosgrave)
“We have a strange horse here. Despite his good group form in Argentina, he ran a terrible race for us first time out, but that said the dirt track at Meydan has been the downfall of any number of horses, he hated the kickback.
“Jebel Ali doesn’t kick up that much, it is on the short side for him but he won his Maiden over 1600m. This is a softer target and we’re expecting a big run. We tried blinkers on Saltarin Dubai recently and it was as if someone turned the lights on! He worked phenomenally and repeated the same in blinkers later. Our mouths fell open. He is a completely different horse when fitted with blinkers, so let’s see what happens in the race.”
ABU DHABI, SUNDAY 22 JANUARY
Race 6 Handicap over 1400m on turf, Mastermind (Pat Cosgrave)
“Mastermind ran a fair race after his break last time, Abu Dhabi is a different track to what he is used to but this could be the right race for him, he is fit and well and should finish in the money.”