equal imageDubai Racing Club Gr 1 Champions Cup winner EQUAL IMAGE (photo: JOHN LEWIS)All Stars Day welcomed its first international sponsor yesterday when The Dubai Racing Club joined forces with Goldcircle to stage one of the season’s premier race meetings.

All Stars Day hosted 5 Graded Stakes events including the Gr 1 Dubai Racing Club Champion’s Cup, Gr 1 Nad Al Sheba Thekwini Fillies Stakes (3rd leg of the SA Debutante Series), Gr 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, Gr 2 Dubai International Racing Carnival Derby, and the Gr 2 Dubai Racing Club Oaks.

“It’s fitting that this trophy should go to the man who has made such an impact on Dubai Racing” said Dubai representative Mr Martin Talty as he handed the feature race trophy – The Champions Cup – to champion trainer Mike De Kock for his victory with EQUAL IMAGE. De Kock is the man who stamped the quality of the South African thoroughbred in Dubai with VICTORY MOON and IPI TOMBE in 2003. Since that time he has repeated his Dubai Duty Free and UAE Derby success with RIGHT APPROACH and LUNDY’S LIABILITY while horses such as IRRIDESCENCE, GRAND EMPORIUM, ORACLE WEST, GREY’S INN, SURVEYOR, WOLF WHISTLE, YARD-ARM, and MOON DAZZLE have all given him feature race success.

In terms of the trail that De Kock has blazed one only needs to assess the figures: In just 3 years 192 horses have now run for six South African trainers during the Dubai International Racing Carnival, those horses winning on 37 occasions with a further 35 placings.

All Stars Day revealed a number of ‘Dubai connections’:

•    Mike De Kock secured a Grade 1 double with the unbeaten 2 yo colt KILDONAN taking the Gr 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, and EQUAL IMAGE securing the Gr 1 Champion’s Cup.

•    Alec Laird who spent 3 months in Dubai as trainer at Millennium Stables won the Gr 2 Dubai International Racing Carnival Derby with MALTEME.

•    Geoff Woodruff who campaigned 3 horses in 2004 won the Gr 1 Nad Al Sheba Thekwini Fillies Stakes with ROYAL FANTASY.

In 2007 the Carnival will include 200 horses from 14 countries and prize money will total US$31 million.

Speaking of the day’s festivities Bill Lambert, Chairman of the Kwazulu-Natal Racing Chapter stated” “Today is indeed a celebration of the thoroughbred and we are extremely proud that one of the world’s most dynamic racing organizations has joined the party. We hope the partnership will be a lengthy one and that racing in both regions will benefit.”