IN the 2106 Dubai World Cup, Mike de Kock’s Mubtaahij ran his heart out for second against California Chrome, then the best horse in the world. In Saturday night’s 2017 renewal of the Meydan spectacle, Mubtaahij had to contend with Arrogate, a horse described as “the greatest since Secretariat” – after he’d stretched across the line clear of Gun Runner and Neolithic.
This time, Mubtaahij finished fourth, and did it from a 14-14 draw. He was beautifully turned out and calm, had to race across hard on the early pace to get a position on the inside and despite his early labours took a nice chunk of the stake money again, staying on gamely.
Mubtaahij was beaten nine lengths by the equine machine race caller Terry Spargo named, “The 21st century Man O’War’, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and the stable have every reason to be very proud of their gallant five-year-old.
Decades from now, when racing fanatics discuss the 2016 and 2017 Dubai World Cups and look at the results charts, Mubtaahij’s name will feature up there, just below the great names of his generation. An also-ran, yes, but one that always took a stake home and acquired a fond and appreciative following on social media due to his brave nature.
And who can take anything away from the sensational winner? Mike de Kock congratulated Bob Baffert on a fine training achievement and said he was privileged to have had a horse in a contest with Arrogate.
Earlier on, the stable’s Fawree was beaten just over 11 lengths by Godolphin’s Thunder Snow in the Gr2 UAE Derby, just missing a stake himself in 7th position. He was short of a prep run having missed the Al Bastakiya due to his much written about behaviour at the start, and Mike commented: “We are happy with Fawree’s run. He was checked in the straight and ran on again, he could have finished in the first four if we’d gotten the prep into him.
“Fawree jumped well, he gave the starter no problems at the pens this time and our recent work with equine therapist Malan du Toit paid off. We are thankful for that, he’s a good horse,” said Mike.
Years ago before the Kentucky Derby, I saw an article of all the derby horses as foals and I fell in love with Mubtaahij standing so proud and straight in front of the most idyllic stable. From that moment, I have loved and rooted for him in his races, Today, as I watched that amazing race, yes, I was awed by Arrogate, but my heart was with Mubtaahij. He never gave up and yes, he is brave. Take care of that beautiful horse for his fan in Texas.