Click above to watch Mikhail Glinka winning the Dubai City Of Gold (Gr2)
(Image and Footage : Dammas Racing)
Meydan, 10 March 2012
There were six thoroughbred events staged at Dubai’s Meydan racecourse on what they dub “Super Saturday”, the last major trial for racing’s biggest night, the Dubai World Cup (31st March). South Africans have a proud record at the latter, winning as many as three (50%) of the six events on the card on their best of days, and on two occasions, two of the six.
For the first time, this Super Saturday boasted two new Group Ones, so besides the added interest, there was a deeper concentration of quality in the line-ups than ever before.
That they’ve mastered the art of preparation for the Dubai Carnival’s fest of racing there can be little doubt, but even by their own lofty standards, Mike de Kock and Herman Brown would have to count Saturday as a good day at the office. They had their disappointments for sure, but these were overwhelmingly outweighed by the other outcomes. If you win well on Super Saturday, it’s a sound indicator you’re on your way to peak performance for the big day, and win they did.
The biggest South African-connected winner on the night was obviously de Kock’s Master Of Hounds, who’d promised so much in his young globetrotting career, with a narrow second in last year’s UAE Derby (Gr.2), and a come-from-behind fifth in America’s Kentucky Derby (Gr.1). Though he’d pretended so well, there were question marks over this son of Kingmambo, who kept sticking his hand up, only to stumble at the final hurdle. Just recently, he was outrun in a Group Two mile at Meydan by his highly regarded stable companion, Viscount Nelson, but a change of tactics under South African jockey, Kevin Shea (on Viscount Nelson that day,) saw him surge to the front from an outside draw, and that’s where he stayed. Shea rode a masterful race tactically, slowing down once he’d found the lead, and quickening his mount authoritatively as he sent him for home. Impressive in third was his stable companion, Mutahadee, (like Master Of Hounds, owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum), who came from way off to finish within two lengths of the winner. Given that Mutahadee is a relatively unexposed youngster in his first attempt at this level, you can bet there’s more in store for the son of Encosta De Lago.
One of the weekend’s most impressive winners was the Herman Brown-trained Mikhail Glinka, who galloped off determinedly with the spoils in the Dubai City of Gold (Gr.2) over 2400m. There were some proper horses in the line-up here, several of them boasting respectable recent form, but this fellow, arguably in need of the outing, was unassailable once he got to the front. Herman Jnr can relax now in the knowledge that he has a $5 million contender for the Sheema Classic (Gr.1) on World Cup night. He’s a beautifully bred colt besides, a son of the world’s best stallion, Galileo, from the outstanding family of European classic winners Teenoso, Give Thanks and Old Country. Parochially, we can’t resist mentioning it’s the family of the millionaires Fisani, Catmandu and Ecole Militaire back here on the farm.
Finally, de Kock wound up the night (or rather opened it,) with a rollicking romp in the Al Bastakiya (Listed) when his Dubawi colt, Mickdaam raced home in a promising prep for the Duty Free (Gr.1,) also for $5 million. There’s cash up for grabs in Dubai, and the South Africans are in the thick of it.
In other international news, Hay List finally got to race without the formidable attentions of unbeaten Black Caviar in Flemington’s Newmarket Handicap (Gr.1) on Saturday. Toting the welter burden of 129 pounds, he was giving between 9 and 19 pounds to his nearest rivals, and while only a short head separated him from those in pursuit, his connections must’ve been more than relieved to emerge at last from the shadow of the world’s best sprinter. In the process, they deposited a cheque which took his lifetime earnings to Aus$2,47 million (roughly R19 million). Pity he’s gelded!