The world’s richest horse race meeting, Dubai World Cup night, was a great one for the Dubai-based Mike de Kock team who recorded two winners, two seconds and a third.
Leading the way was a stunning 1-2 in the UAE Derby with the Johnny Murtagh-ridden Honour Devil defeating Royal Vintage to follow up his win in the UAE 2000 Guineas over the same stable companion.
Kevin Shea and Royal Vintage gained revenge in the Al Bastakiya last time but it was Johnny Murtagh’s mount who was able to open up a 2-1 scoreline. Mike de Kock said: “We thought the Derby was our best chance on the night and I have to be delighted with a 1-2. They are two really nice horses.”
Archipenko was beaten about half a length in third in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free, the 1777m turf feature the yard has won twice before with dead-heater Right Approach and the legendary Ipi Tombe.
Kevin Shea’s mount was denied a run when he needed it just over a furlong out but was flying at the death with the post just coming in time for Jay Peg under Anton Marcus.
Kevin Shea explained: “That was a great run and he has run really well. Just the lack of a bit of luck has cost us. He definitely has a big race in him I am sure.”
Mike de Kock added: “I said he was a Group1 horse and he certainly has proved it.”
Kevin Shea gained ample compensation in the Group 1 Sheema Classic, the 12-furlong turf feature which he won comfortably on the amazing Sun Classique. The four-year-old filly is now a Group 1 winner on two continents and has won all three starts in the UAE.
Kevin Shea was happy to send her for home over two furlongs out and she never looked likely to be headed with Viva Pataca and Doctor Dino giving vain chance.
For once, Kevin Shea was short of words: “She (Sun Classique) is brilliant, a real star. She saved my neck last time with a wonderful turn of foot and we mentioned this race then. But to come here and win it, like that, is amazing. I wish the party could start now!”
Asiatic Boy , the only horse to have won the UAE Triple Crown returned to his best in the $6US million Dubai World Cup when chasing home the world’s best horse, Curlin. It was a great effort from the four-year-old who was a disappointment on Super Thursday but, as the trainer explains, he takes the blame: “I had been too easy on him before that race and he needed it. We knew he was spot on tonight, you could see that in the paddock.
“That was a great run against a top-class horse who we knew would be very hard to beat. We can’t complain – two winners and two seconds, as well as Archipenko’s unlucky third. They have run well and that is all we can ask for.”
Extract by Peter Ward from Mike de Kock Racing