South African trainer Mike de Kock is set to saddle seven runners at Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan. The meeting offers prize money of $30-million (R366-million), with $10-million up for grabs on the Dubai World Cup itself, over 2000m on the dirt.
Viewing entries in
Al Quoz Sprint
Shea Shea / Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins (p)
$1 MILLION AL QUOZ SPRINT (Group 1)
Meydan, Turf, 1000m
29 March 2014
Spectators at the richest day of racing will be treated to a fascinating renewal of the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint empowered by IPIC, on Saturday with last year’s winner Shea Shea (SAF) back to defend his crown against new kid in town, the Hong Kong speedball, Amber Sky (AUS).
Shea Shea is the form horse at Meydan, holding the track record set last year and winning the Super Saturday 2014 Meydan Sprint on his seasonal debut.
Trainer, Mike de Kock’s hopes were bolstered when his charge was drawn 12 of 12 on Wednesday and, therefore, gets to race along his beloved standside rail. His jockey, Christophe Soumillon was understandably delighted with the news.
“I soon learned that he likes a bit of cover and a rail to race against so that is the ideal draw,” he said.
Hong Kong speedster Amber Sky (Aus), trained by Ricky Yiu, could not have been more impressive when winning a 1000m Sha Tin dash in January and looks a massive danger to De Kock’s charge.
He and work rider Raymond Tam were out in the heavy rain early on Wednesday morning. Tam joked: “The weather did not faze him and he was a lot happier than I was out there.”
Compatriot and ten-year-old veteran, Joy And Fun (NZ), actually won this race for trainer Derek Cruz the first year it was contested on Dubai World Cup night, when it was run over 1200m in 2010. He was then third in 2012 and second last year after the switch to 1000m.
Ahtoug (GB) was Charlie Appleby’s first 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival runner when landing a 1000m turf handicap back at the first meeting in early January. He has since been unable to find winning ways, coming up against Shea Shea but his trainer is pleased with his charge.
Appleby said: “We were obviously delighted with that first win but nothing went right on his second start when he was drawn on the wrong side. He bounced back with a very good second behind Medicean Man but excelled on Super Saturday, finding only Shea Shea too good over Saturday’s course and distance. Hopefully he has another big run in him.”
Dual Group 1 winner, Sole Power (GB), representing Ireland was fourth to Shea Shea 12 months ago having been just in front of Joy And Fun when second in 2012. He and Shea Shea have clashed regularly and the Eddie Lynam-trained sprinter did beat his old rival at Royal Ascot last year, just denying him in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, also over 1000m.
The Doug Watson-trained Dux Scholar (GB) and Jeremy Gask’s Medicean Man (GB) are both course and distance winners with Gask’s stable star actually winning at the Dubai World Cup Carnival both this year and in 2013. Both are capable of big runs.
Representing France, the Philippe Sogorb-trained Catcall (FR) merits plenty of respect after his career-best second in last year’s Prix de L’Abbaye at Longchamp. He has been beaten by both Shea Shea and Medicean Man this year at Meydan Racecourse but it would be premature to write him off.
Extract from Dubai Racing Club
Animal Kingdom’s owners John Messara of Arrowfield Stud and Barry Irwin of Team Valor International
with winning jockey Joel Rosario receiving the Dubai World Cup
(Photo : Sport360)
“That’s five from six, which sounds more like a Dale Steyn
bowling return than a regular Summerhill tipping sheet.”
Let me confess, these columns are not known for any particular science in predicting the outcome of a horse race. We’re far too sentimental to be good tipsters, but occasionally we get it right. In our ramblings in the lead up to the weekend, we went out on a limb and named a few fancies.
You might argue that Shea Shea was a certainty in the $1million Al Quoz Sprint (Gr.1) in Dubai, but there’s no such thing on a world stage, particularly in an international field where the talents of the protagonists are beyond comparison. Nor could you have anticipated that he’d smash a course record which just three weeks before, he’d made his own. The son of former Summerhill sire, National Emblem, deservedly heads for Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand Stakes (Gr.1), where the world might just be treated to one of the great sprinting contests of all-time. Black Caviar is 24 from 24 as matters stand, and while she’s earned her rating as the second best horse on the planet, her connections will be the first to acknowledge that she took down a tame field in England last year. It would take a brave man to suggest that Shea Shea has her measure, but Australia is no longer the breeding ground for the out-and-out blinding speed it used to be. Increasingly, the influence of shuttle stallions has blunted the profile of the aptitudes for which Australian thoroughbreds were once famous, and whatever the outcome, on the evidence of his exertions in Dubai, Shea Shea will be a worthy foe for one of the best sprinters the world has known.
In hindsight, a seven-for-seven record tells us that anyone betting against Soft Falling Rain in the Godolphin Mile on Saturday, needed a shrink. Yet in its 18 renewals, the $1million race has never been won by a three-year-old, and that tells you something. Besides, he was drawn on the rank outside and that’s where he remained well into the finishing stretch. Pressed four and five wide for the duration of the race, the colt galloped right to the line, and he takes an unblemished record to Royal Ascot as well. The Beck family have produced some crackers in their time at Highlands and Maine Chance, but this fellow might be the pinnacle of their endeavours.
There’s not much more we can say about Mike de Kock as a racehorse trainer. As one of the greatest exponents of the art the world has known, we’ve come to expect these things from him. But even then, you’d not have stretched your anticipation to two track records, and a cracking second from The Apache in the $5million Duty Free. There have been some remarkable performances by some remarkable horses over the Dubai turf in the past two decades, and yet here we are, with the fastest 1000 and 1600 metres ever. Add to that Golden Sword’s 2000 metre still-standing record, and you’d have to believe he gives them wings.
You might have said there was no genius in picking Animal Kingdom for the $10million Dubai World Cup, and here we’d have to admit to some sentiment. He belongs to two old mates, Arrowfield’s John Messara and Team Valor’s Barry Irwin, so we might have tagged him anyway. We were on hand for his big day in America’s biggest horse race, the Kentucky Derby, though, and that and his “prep” for Dubai was enough for us. Remember too, that when we fingered him, he was only the fourth choice on the betting boards, shortening a bit when Monterosso defected at the last minute.
How many mares get two Group winners at the same race meeting? It’s happened before, but it’s not your everyday occurrence. While we were in Australia a fortnight back, Helsinge had the lofty distinction of having two Group One winners on the same weekend, though at different venues. Both are exceptional: Black Caviar is already a household name, and her younger brother, All Too Hard, is on his way to becoming one. He is already the best three-year-old in Australasia, and he might just be as good as they get anywhere in the world.
That shouldn’t detract though, from Bridget Oppenheimer’s spectacular achievement on Saturday. Not only was the winner of the Harry Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes (Gr.1)Slumdogmillionaire, appropriately bred at her nursery, Mauritzfontein, but so too, was the sublime victress of the SA Fillies Classic (Gr.1), Cherry On The Top and the gusty winner of the Jacaranda Handicap (Gr.3)Cherry On The Cake. The best measure of a great mare is one capable of getting good horses no matter her mates, and the Oaks-winning Carolina Cherry has done just that. This is a family affair: the Triple Crown aspirant who might just be the best South African-bred filly we’ve seen in decades, is a daughter of Mary Slack’s Tiger Ridge, while Cherry On The Cake is by the sadly deceased Strike Smartly, sire too, of Slumdogmillionaire. The family traces to Sir Mordaunt Milner’s great foundation producer, Miss Therese, dam of the Kannemeyer-trained Guineas winner, Man Of Property.
Revisit our column, Classics And Clues on Friday last, and you’ll find “Slumdog” and the “Cherry” in the mix as well. That’s five from six, which sounds more like a Dale Steyn bowling return than a regular Summerhill tipping sheet. Without in any way wanting to diminish your faith in our picking abilities, we have to confess that Tellina was our choice for the Colt’s Classic. Thank goodness we got that one wrong!
Watch Shea Shea winning the Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1)
(Photo : Virendra Saklani - Footage : Dubai Racing Meydan)
$1,000,000 AL QUOZ SPRINT (Group 1)
Meydan, Turf, 1000m
20 March 2013
South African-bred sprinter Shea Shea (National Emblem) gave champion South African trainer Mike de Kock his second win on the Dubai World Cup programme, pouncing from off the speed for an ultimately comfortable victory in the $1,000,000 Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1) from the Hong Kong-trained duo of Joy And Fun (Cullen) and Eagle Regiment (El Moxie). The final time of :56.41 eclipsed his own previous track record of :57.02 set in the Listed Meydan Sprint on the Super Saturday programme 9 March.
Fairly into stride for jockey Christophe Soumillon, Shea Shea raced in midfield of the main group of horses, and followed the move of Joy and Fun, the 2010 Al Quoz runner-up and last year’s third place getter, as they hooked up with the course proper. He remained in the 9-year-old’s slipstream entering the final furlong, and Soumillon got to work, shifting his mount off heels before powering home to a clear-cut win. Eagle Regiment raced prominently along the far-side rail and stayed on gamely to finish third.
Soumillion said he was confident of winning for most of the way. “I’m not surprised to win a race like this after his last run because that race was as good as this one. He likes to come last and catch them on the line and it worked out perfectly.”
“He had the horse to go and fetch and it was just as we’d hoped,” De Kock commented. “Coming here is not easy. The horses do better the longer they are here and horses like him are geared for these type of races.” Shea Shea, who is campaigned by Brian Joffe and Myron Berzack, will be pointed for the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June where a possible clash with Champion sprinter Black Caviar could be on the cards.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News, Bloodhorse and Mike de Kock Racing
Click above to watch Rocket Man winning the Golden Shaheen (Gr1)
(Footage : Dubai Racing)
DUBAI WORLD CUP
26 March 2011
The Dubai World Cup meeting featured two sprints, one on grass, the other on tapeta. Having shown his preference for the turf, (or rather, his dislike of the tapeta), it was Lucky Houdalakis’ decision to keep J J The Jet Plane on his best surface in the Al Quoz Sprint (Gr2) and he was vindicated when our local ace came sprinting out of the mist after twice being interfered with, to get over the line in the last stride of the 1000m trip, now arguably too short for him.
His ranking as the best male sprinter in the world remains intact, and was not eclipsed by Rocket Man’s gutsy win in the Golden Shaheen (Gr1) a few races later. The latter is a man who thoroughly deserved his victory, as he’d been narrowly denied last year in the same event, as well as by J J The Jet Plane in the Hong Kong Sprint (Gr1) a few months ago. Rocket Man may be Australian-bred, but he’s South African owned, South African-trained, and he was South African-ridden on Saturday evening, the protagonists being respectively one of the country’s biggest owners, Fred Crabbia, the veteran horseman, Patrick Shaw, and one of our most celebrated riders, Felix Coetzee.
As gallant as gallant gets, it was very nearly South Africa’s turn to grab the cash in the $5million Dubai Duty Free (Gr1) yet again, (no country has won it more often), when River Jetez claimed the lead 300m out, and just as she appeared to have the race at her mercy, the Luca Cumani-conditioned Presvis finally got his act together, (having had a couple of shots at the event before), for a half length victory. Now in her seventh year, River Jetez’s astonishing effort was as fine an advert for the class and durability of South African gallopers as any, and the Amms and Marsh Shirtliff can take some solace from the knowledge that she ran her guts out for “president and country”.
Click above to watch J J The Jet Plane winning the US$1,000,000 Al Quoz Sprint (Gr2)
(Footage : Dubai Racing)
US$1,000,000 AL QUOZ SPRINT (Group 2)
Meydan, Turf, 1000m
26 March 2011
|1||0.00||J J THE JET PLANE (SAF)||57.0||122||11||B Fayd’Herbe||Lucky Houdalakis|
|2||Hd||WAR ARTIST (AUS)||57.0||116||9||O Peslier||Rodolphe Collet|
|3||Hd||BETTER BE THE ONE (AUS)||57.0||110||4||D Beasley||Michael Freedman|
|4||Sh||INVINCIBLE ASH (IRE)||55.0||107||8||J Murtagh||Michael Halford|
|5||2.25||PROHIBIT (GB)||57.0||112||5||L Detorri||Robert Cowell|
|6||0.5||INXILE (IRE)||57.0||108||13||A Nicholls||David Nicholls|
|7||0.25||TRIPLE ASPECT (IRE)||57.0||107||15||R Moore||William Haggas|
|8||0.25||QUICK ENOUGH (USA)||57.0||108||10||R Bejarano||Doug O’Neill|
|9||1.00||MAR ADENTRO (FR)||57.0||110||7||C Soumillon||Richard Chotard|
|10||Sh||HAPPY DUBAI (IRE)||57.0||113||2||R Ffrench||Ali Rashid Al Raihe|
|11||0.5||SPIN CYCLE (IRE)||57.0||110||3||R Mullen||Satish Seemar|
|12||0.5||MONSIEUR JOE (IRE)||57.0||112||6||J Spencer||Walter Swinburn|
|13||0.75||STRADIVINSKY (USA)||57.0||110||14||J Leparoux||Richard Dutrow Jr|
|14||Ns||SOLE POWER (GB)||57.0||117||12||W Lordan||Edward Lynam|
|15||0.5||PICCADILLY FILLY (IRE)||55.0||106||1||E Creighton||Edward Creighton|
|16||2.5||MR GRUFF (USA)||57.0||111||16||J Rosario||Ronald Ellis|
J J The Jet Plane - South Africa
(Photo : Gold Circle)
US$1,000,000 AL QUOZ SPRINT (Group 2)
Meydan, Turf, 1000m
26 March 2011
PICCADILLY FILLY (IRE)
HAPPY DUBAI (IRE)
Ali Rashid Al Raihe
SPIN CYCLE (IRE)
BETTER BE THE ONE (AUS)
MONSIEUR JOE (IRE)
MAR ADENTRO (FR)
INVINCIBLE ASH (IRE)
WAR ARTIST (AUS)
QUICK ENOUGH (USA)
SOLE POWER (GB)
Richard Dutrow Jr
TRIPLE ASPECT (IRE)
MR GRUFF (USA)