“WHEN we come to Cape Town it’s not to take a bucket and spade to go lie on the beach,” Mike de Kock quipped after Atyaab (AUS) had stayed on best of all to give the stable its third Gr1 Cape Derby winner at Kenilworth, Saturday.
Mike clearly took delight in this, his second Derby winner for Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai, following Ertijaal’s success in 2015 and added, jokingly: “When I was watching under Starters Orders (on Tellytrack) they didn’t mention Atyaab once in their preview, I had to check my race card to make sure he wasn’t scratched!”
Atyaab is described as “not a ‘Wow’! horse, just an honest, very tough horse” and Mike said he was sent to the Cape for the Derby because the field looked weaker than usual. “It looked like a B Division Handicap, so we had to take our chances and the trip paid off.
“Atyaab was impressive. We wanted to be closer to the pace but as it panned out he was closer to the back and raced wide into the straight, it’s not easy to win any race coming from so wide. And then, the front-running filly drifted across the track, carrying Atyaab even wider. He won well, it would’ve been easier if not for that.”
This week, Atyaab will be returning to Johannesburg to be prepared for the Gr1 SA Derby and Mike said: “The 2450m will be ideal for him and now that he’s shown he’s up to the task we’ll be looking fioward t the race.
Atyaab gave jockey Diego De Gouveia his first Gr1 success and he said: “ What a race to do it in, what a trainer and what an owner to do it for. Thank you.”
Atyaab is a son of Dundeel (High Chaparral), ccclaimed as the Classic and weight-for-age star of his generation, who stands at Arrowfield Stud in Australia alongside Redoute’s Choice and Snitzel.