Dunaden / Herald Sun (p)
$250,000 AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE ROUND 2 (Group 2)
Meydan, All Weather, 1900m
6 February 2014
Thursday’s Group 2 $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2, the second of three prep races for the US$10m Dubai World Cup features three Group 1 and three Group 2 winners among a quality field of 16.
Three-time Group 1 winner and 2011 Melbourne Cup star, Dunaden, Sean Tarry-trainedVodacom Durban July victor, Heavy Metal, and Hunter’s Light, winner of the final two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge in 2013 head up a classy field in the Group 2 contest held over 1900m of Meydan’s all-weather track.
Group 2-winning horses African Story, Battle of Marengo and Prince Bishop also face the starter in the $250,000 feature on the seven-race card.
South African trainer, Mike de Kock is a three-time winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and Zahee, a winner just last week, arrives in great heart. However, De Kock sounds hopeful rather than confident.
“It is never ideal running back so quickly but with his new rating of 111 my options are somewhat restricted,” he explained. “It was only a handicap he won last week but we think he is worth his place at this level. It looks a strong renewal but at least he has shown his wellbeing and is fit and well.”
De Kock, seeking a second win in a race he won in 2011 with Mahbooba, saddles three with Christophe Soumillon choosing to ride Mensoora, well beaten against her elders in last week’s Cape Verdi.
Extracts from Emirates Racing Authority