Three South African bred horses and another four South African owned and trained horses, have cracked the nod for Dubai’s big night on 29 March.
Mike de Kock’s Lucky Find is out of a sister to a recent arrival to Summerhill Stud, the Rakeen filly Spirit Leader, which belongs to Lance and Tim Evered-Hall, and Pat Pearson.
The other connection comes in the form of Royal Vintage, who’s dam is a sister to no fewer than three Summerhill mares belonging respectively to Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, Peter Yieps (Hong Kong Breeder’s Club), and Dr Steven Stick of Australia.
According to David Mollett, Racing Editor of the Business Day, the Dubai World Cup Committee has rewarded Mike de Kock’s recent impressive winner, Lucky Find, with an invite for next month’s $6m World Cup, when he will lock horns with American “Horse-of-the-Year” Curlin.
Lucky Find is one of three South African horses that the committee extended invitations for Dubai World Cup night on March 29. The other two are Oracle West who will contest the 2400m Sheema Classic, and Royal Vintage who will line up for the 1800m UAE Derby.
Purchased for R450000 at the 2005 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales, Lucky Find was bred at Barbara Sanne’s Oldlands Stud. These are exciting times as Sanne also bred Rippling Ring who runs at next month’s big Cheltenham meeting in the UK.
Lucky Find, who is by Rich Man’s Gold out of the mare Little Erna, and the gelding’s former trainer, Dennis Drier, is not the least surprised the horse has got to the top.
“Lucky Find is a beautiful, strong and athletic horse,” said Drier. “I stabled a nice filly called Spirit Leader from Lucky Find’s family and had my eye on this one early.”
“At the national yearling sales, I told owner Bill Nelson to wait for Lucky Find, not to buy anything else. Bill was patient and didn’t raise a hand at all. He bided his time, and when the horse came along we secured him at what we considered to be a very good price,” he said .
Drier said he always believed Lucky Find was a top horse after his good second in the Daily News. “We specifically left him out of the July so that he could mature. I advised Mike de Kock that he would be a good purchase. Mike’s buyer wasn’t keen on geldings, but Mike agreed after looking at Lucky Find’s form.
As it turned out, he then had time to mature while on his way to Dubai. The rest is history.”
UAE Derby hopeful, Royal Vintage, bred at Avontuur Stud, is also a son of Rich Man’s Gold out of the mare Derry Wood, and cost R225000 at the Yearling Sales.
Said Mike De Kock: “I liked the cross of Rich Man’s Gold and Fort Wood, and I like Avontuur Farm where he was born and raised. Pippa Mickleburgh looks after her horses as if they were her children and Royal Vintage was an impressive yearling.”
Mickleburgh will be hoping for a big run from Royal Vintage in Dubai as they will be offering his half-sister (by Al Mufti) at the national yearling sales in April.
Oracle West, bought by owner Kenny Geemooi for R275000 at the 2003 sales, will not have the now-retired, Vengeance of Rain, to contend with in his bid to go one better in the Sheema Classic.
The son of Western Winter’s career earnings are a staggering R13m. US Horse of the Year, Curlin, has arrived in Dubai and was put through his paces at Nad Al Sheba racetrack.
“He did things the right way this morning.
“I think Steve (trainer Steve Asmussen) will be pleased,” said assistant Scott Blasi. Asmussen had given strict instructions that Curlin should not exert himself too much before his first scheduled start of this year in a 2000m race tomorrow .