Super Thursday, popularly regarded as the dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup meeting, is an exciting night for the Dubai-based Mike de Kock string. He saddles 13 runners, with realistic chances in at least four of the seven thoroughbred races on the night.
World Cup aspirant Asiatic Boy (Johnny Murtagh), undefeated at Nad Al Sheba and the only horse to have won the UAE Triple Crown, will be a warm favourite in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar over 1600m in which the opposition include the last two winners, Boston Lodge and Marbush.
Using this mile contest as his final stepping stone to the World Cup, Mike De Kock is confident of a big run: “He is in great form and is a real professional. He loves Nad Al Sheba and the dirt track and knows where the winning post is. Being a big striding horse he tends to race prominently. He will run a big race and be hard to beat. This mile is the ideal prep for the 2000m World Cup.” Drift Ice and Brave Tin Soldier contest the same race but all eyes will be on Asiatic Boy.
Johnny Murtagh is also in the saddle on Honour Devil, like Asiatic Boy owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and who won the UAE 2000 Guineas last time. He will make a bold bid to emulate Asiatic Boy in the Listed Al Bastakiya, over 1800m and, like in the Guineas, stable companion Royal Vintage looks his biggest danger under Kevin Shea.
De Kock concurs: “I really can’t split them as Honour Devil is slightly better at the weights but Royal Vintage will definitely appreciate the extra furlong. We will certainly be hoping to win the race!”
The night’s official feature is the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge III over the same 2000m course and distance as the Dubai World Cup. Round II winner, Lucky Find, represents the yard and having proved a revelation on the dirt will be hard to beat under Kevin Shea according to the trainer: “He is in great form and has form over further at home. That was on turf but he should stay tonight. We will then decide between the World Cup and Godolphin Mile.”
The Mahab Al Shimaal, a Group 3 dirt sprint over 1200m, looks wide open and Shea on Frosty Secret looks well drawn near the stand rail, while Drayton also represents the team. “Frosty Secret should go well from his draw and is a definite contender,” said De Kock.
Oracle West won the Group 3 Dubai City of Gold in 2006 and meets Quijano, whom he chased home last year, in this year’s renewal. With a win under his belt he could reverse the form with the German horse, but faces a serious rival in John Ox’s Marilyn.
“It is over three weeks until the big night but he (Oracle West) has a win under his belt already. He is in good shape and will run well.”
Admiralofthefleet and African Appeal have bad draws in the Group 2 Jebel Hatta but are entitled to go close granted luck, while Ablaan seeks a third course and distance win in a 1200m conditions race on the dirt.
Extract by Peter Ward from Mike de Kock Racing