MUSTAAQEEM, the 2017 Equus Champion Two-Year-Old, finished fourth
in his comeback sprint at The Vaal on Thursday, beaten just under a length by Africa Rising, showing pace.
The run would have been disappointing to punters, who had bankered the short-priced favourite in their exotic perms, Mathew de Kock feels there should be more sympathetic consideration for the colt after his long lay-off.
He said: “Mustaaqeem came off knee surgery and a long rest and we could only give him a limited amount of work before the race to bring him on carefully. He showed good pace and just ran out of steam late which is natural.
“Mustaaqeem pulled up a bit stiff this morning (Friday), but he will be fine. He came into a competitive race after a break and he will improve a lot after this run.
“Rugby and soccer players coming of injuries play for 20 minutes before they get taken off, our horse is an athlete too, a competitor and he felt the same strain. I wish we had barrier trials here, one trial before the race would have done Mustaaqeem the world of good.”
Mike, speaking from Dubai, commented: “Mustaaqeem will make tons of improvement. I have always held the opinion that he wants a bit more ground. I’m not fazed right now. We can’t make assessments based on this one run. He has a good season ahead of him.
“Mustaaqeem’s brother Rafeef got beat and that didn’t stop him from winning a Grade 1. Let’s see where he is at the end of the season.”