Click above to watch Bankable winning the $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal
(Footage : Dubai Racing)


With just a couple of weeks to go before the Dubai World Cup meeting, Thursday evening’s contests would’ve provided some serious pointers not only to the form of the principal contenders, but also where they may head in the wake of the results.

The big talk of the evening would’ve undoubtedly centred on the English Champion Stakes ace, Twice Over’s resounding victory over last year’s UAE Derby winner, Musir, and as impressive as that was, it’s arguable that the Herman Brown-trained Bankable’s last-to-first plunge in the 1200 metres sprint was even more so.

Bankable was an unlucky second in last year’s Dubai Duty Free (Gr.1), in which he shaded the Summerhill-bred Imbongi, but on this evidence, you’d have to ask yourself whether Herman might not be better advised aiming this fellow for the Golden Shaheen (Gr.1) over the same course and distance, where the first prize is bigger than that of the minor money in the Duty Free. The Americans always arrive with hoards of top notch sprinters, but there’s nothing standing out this year to our knowledge, and it seems Bankable is a live candidate for that event.

Disappointment of the evening was Irish Flame, who was up there in the vicinity of Bold Silvano last season in South Africa, but who’s shown nothing like his true form during his Dubai campaign. Bold Silvano of course, was sidelined for the evening with a foot injury, but when Mike de Kock tells you he’ll be ready on the big night, you have to take his well being for granted. Nobody knows Dubai better than De Kock, and there’s nobody better in the world at getting a horse ready for a major engagement.

Beaten in her last outing quite convincingly by River Jetez, the Galileo filly, Reem, paid tribute to the former J&B Met winners’ talents by cruising away by five lengths herself in a Stakes event on the evening, and we guess she’ll be joining Mahubo in the line-up for the Duty Free. The real question is what to do with River Jetez herself, as it’s possible (though we have no official reason for saying so,) that Musir might head for the Duty Free as well, and we guess that Mike must have the Sheema Classic (2400m) as one of the options for River Jetez.

Either way, with Twice Over in the form of his life and already the best middle distance horse in Europe, and with Bold Silvano up there with the best in the Southern Hemisphere (what a pity the New Zealand-bred So You Think, is missing), there is a real North vs South battle in the offing.