After four Carnival winners last weekend, including both the main feature races, it is a far quieter weekend for the Mike De Kock Dubai-based string this week with just three runners on Thursday night. Group 1 winner Divine Jury, who just edged out Summerhill-bred son of Kahal, Emperor Napoleon, to the line in the R1m Aryan Asphalt Gr1 SA Classic, takes his chance in the Zabeel Mile, a Listed turf race won in its inaugural running last year by Kapil, and would look to hold a major chance under the in-form Kevin Shea.
The five-year-old son of Jallad travelled supremely well on his UAE debut behind Linngari and was expected to come on a lot for that run. With most of his rivals exposed, he has to go close despite his Group 1 penalty.
Mike De Kock said: “He is a major player and a very nice horse. He needed his comeback and we are looking for a big run from him.”
Engrupido finally opened his UAE account last week in a 10-furlong dirt handicap and bids to follow up over the same course and distance but would appear to face a stiff task – the six runners include 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin! The highest-rated horse ever to run in a handicap locally, his presence means the other five are running from out of the handicap.
De Kock added: “It is good prize money and he is guaranteed a share so it would be folly not to take the chance.”
Valiance takes his chance in the Listed Al Quoz Sprint over six furlongs on turf and arrives here on the back of a much improved effort at Jebel Ali last time. This is a far better race though and he has been done no favours drawn 10 of 10.
Extract by Peter Ward from Mike de Kock Racing