MUBTAAHIJ (Christophe Soumillon) returns to racing in Thursday’s Listed Curlin Handicap over 2000m on dirt at Meydan, and he is reported to be well short of his best after a four month absence from racing.
This will be Mubtaahij’s first, and perhaps his only preparation run into the 2017 Dubai World Cup and Mike de Kock commented: “We wanted to use the Firebreak Stakes on 11 February as a first prep, but he wasn’t ready for it.
“Mubtaahij arrived back in Dubai on 12 December after a short spell in quarantine, which was really his only period of rest after his US campaign. He ran some cracking races in the US, but he wasn’t moving too well on his return so we had to take things quite easy with him.
“He is moving well again, we’re happy with his progress but he is some way off his peak. He’s been with two trainers in a year, he’s visited two continents and was on different feeds. It’s hard to pick them up from exploits like these.
“Horses are not machines, they’re no switches you can flick on and off. The strength of this field tomorrow doesn’t matter. Mubtaahij will need the run, he is not at his best and if he doesn’t put in a satisfactory run we’ll race him again on Super Saturday next week. He will make good improvement going into the World Cup.”
Other Thursday runners at Meydan:
Race 7: Handicap over 1400m on turf:
Johan Strauss (Bernard Fayd’Herbe): “He needs further, and still needs another run as he is problematic.”
Suyoof (Jim Crowley): “He is doing very well. If this was 1600m I would have been confident, he will still be competitive over 1400m, we’ve run out of time with race choices.
Tahanee (Soumillon): “Still fit and well, in good form and we’ll be looking for another competitive effort.”
Mastermind (Pat Cosgrave): “Needs to drop in ratings before he will be competitive again.”
Saturday runners at Meydan:
Race 1: Maiden over 1800m on turf:
Mazeed (Antonio Fresu): “He switches to turf and I think he will run a good race. He is a big striding, beautiful horse and should be a first three contender.”
Race 3: Handicap over 1200m on dirt:
Alareef (Crowley): “He’s in an out, only seems to run well when his rating drops. Likes the course and distance, better drawn and could make the first four.”
Race 5: Handicap over 1600m on turf:
Dream Dubai (Fernando Jara): “He’s put in two decent sprints so far this term and shows that he wants 1400m plus. I’m not convinced he is at his best yet, he may need to be gelded. Place chance.”
Photo: Mubtaahij, track work in Dubai. (Laura King).