MIKE de Kock will be sending out four runners in at the first 2019 Carnival meeting at Meydan in Dubai on Thursday evening and he explained on Wednesday why his former regular Dubai jockey Christophe Soumillon has not been declared to ride any of them.
“There is nothing sinister about it, Christophe is a family friend and we’d love to have him on our runners as always, but we don’t have the support or the calibre of horse to retain him this season, and he’ll be taking rides elsewhere. We will book him when he is available.”
With Jim Crowley retained by Sheikh Hamdan for the choice of the Hamdan-owned runners, Mike said that he’ll be offering his other available mounts to jockeys who ride work at Blue Stables. Adrie de Vries and Olivier Doleuze have been helping us out in the morning, we’ll be giving them opportunities where we can.”
South African Gr3 winner Alfolk (AUS) hasn’t raced for a year, but according to Mike has settled down very well in Dubai and has enjoyed a good preparation for Race 3 over 1000m on turf. “He will be a bit ring-rusty, but his SA form is looking quite good and we’ll be happy if he can place first time out here, he has done a lot of work.”
Light The Lights won the 2016 Gr3 Singspiel Stakes, he’s a seasoned Carnival campaigner and comes into this year’s renewal having done good work at home. “He’s a year older, things are getting tougher and he’s drawn 16 of 16, no easy task at all and it’s a competitive field.”
Another runner faced with a poor draw is Janoobi (Race 6, Handicap, 1400m), and Mike noted: “He’s in good form at home, he is a stronger horse than he was last year and we’re expecting to have a good carnival with him, but he has to give weight all round and has to jump from gate 14 in a field of 14, so there is plenty to do. Suyoof will need it, we’re prepping him for a mile in two weeks time.”