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Class, fitness, chances

DUBAI racing journo Laura King (@LauraKingDXB) pointed out on Twitter, Tuesday, that Mike de Kock had won the Al Rashidiya seven times (including the last four) which saved us some time researching statistics ahead of Thursday night’s Meydan meeting, one of two gatherings at the desert track this weekend.

Thanks a mil to the ubiquitous Laura, also for the use of our headline photo of Gr1 Cape Derby winner Ertijaal (SAF), taken on the work track at Meydan a few weeks ago. She reckons that one of Ertijaal (Paul Hanagan) or Forries Waltz (Christophe Soumillon) could make it a record eighth success in the Gr2 race over 1800m on turf sponsored by the Meydan Group.


Ertijaal (SAF), class act.

Mike also has the stalwart Mujaarib (Dane O’Neill) in the race, by all accounts not out of it either, and he said: “Our seven-year-old Mujaarib is a very happy horse this year as I noted last time. He is very fit, Forries Waltz too. Ertijaal is a class horse, talented but he races off his long break and will have improvement to come. It’s class versus fitness for our runners and I think they will all go well, but I’m not going to put my head down and pick between them.”

Mike said that he is never keen on stepping out horses with very short intervals between runs but that he often has no choice at Carnival time, in reference to runners like Anaerobio, Banaadeer and Royal Ridge. “As it happens they’re all in wonderful shape. We’ve had no problems with them.”

Here are Mike’s comments for his other runners at the Thursday meeting:

Race 1: Handicap over 1400m on dirt
Alareef (Hanagan)
“Alareef looks back in good form, he has a good eachway chance.”

Race 2: Handicap over 1200m on turf
Winklemann (IRE) (Wayne Smith)
“He’s a new acquisition from Italy, running for Larry Nestadt, Gary Barber, Tony Bott and Marshall Finlay. We’d like to see what he’s about, this is too short and he will improve for the run.”

Race 5: Handicap over 1400m on turf
Anaerobio (ARG) (Soumillon), Banaadeer (AUS) (Hanagan) and Royal Ridge (O’Neill)
“We have three fit horses here, all are well. Anaerobio ran another good race last week, just behind Safety Check, Harry’s Son and Mastermind. That’s good form in any book and he’s a soldier, he should give of his best again. We’re trying Banaadeer over a bit more ground, he just hasn’t delivered over five furlongs and remains capable of better efforts. Royal Ridge also comes from the Safety Check race, he is lowest rated here but has some place prospects.”

Race 7: Handicap over 1600m on turf
Rock Cocktail (AUS) (Smith), Liquid Mercury (Sam Hitchcott) and Mutamakkin (AUS) (Hanagan)
“Mutamakkin is my pick of the three. He’s doing exceptionally well and is a horse I thought highly of in South Africa. Rock Cocktail is likely to improve on his last run and Liquid Mercury will come on with this start behind him, he looks promising.”

Saturday meeting, Meydan:

Race 7: Handicap over 2000m on dirt
Baroot (GB) (Smith)
“He won his Maiden in pretty good style recently, enjoyed the 1900m on dirt and won’t have a problem with the extra 100m. He’s rated lowest in the race after beating a weak field, but he may well be better than his rating and could be competitive.”

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