The boss is back from his Australian travels today, just in time to witness the performances of two Summerhill-breds at Nad Al Sheba tonight.
Summerhill Ready To Run graduate, Art Of War, lines up for the feature race of the evening, the $300,000 Al Maktoum Challenge (Gr.2) third round over 2000m on dirt. This race is seen as a stepping stone for the $6million Dubai World Cup which is run over the same 10 furlong distance. Mike de Kock is cautiously optimistic about the son of Kahal who ran an impressive second in last Thursday’s Meydan Hotel Trophy over 1800m, behind the classy Gloria de Campeao. “Art Of War has had a super Carnival and although well drawn (1) is perhaps an optimistic entry for us here, although he continues in good form at home,” said Mike de Kock. Art Of War will face some stiff competition in the form of 2008 Dubai World Cup runner-up, Asiatic Boy, who missed out behind Curlin in last year’s race, although Asiatic Boy does have a tough draw (15) to overcome.
The second Summerhill contender on Super Thursday is 2008 KZN Horse Of The Year, Imbongi, who lines up in the 1777m Jebel Hatta (Gr.2) on turf, a Dubai Duty Free trial. Imbongi will face a barrage of tough competition in the form of Russian Sage, Biarritz, Strategic News, Jay Peg and Japanese hope Vodka. According to Mike de Kock, Imbongi is better over a shorter distance, but is a horse that is in peak physical condition. Herman Brown Jnr, trainer of 2008 Dubai Duty Free victor, Jay Peg, says that his charge is coming along well and that he is confident of a solid performance.
Honour Devil, winner of the 2008 UAE Derby, will get his chance again tonight when he faces a host of Group winners in the $200,000 Burj Nahaar (Gr.3) over 1600m on dirt. Honour Devil steps up against the likes of Jalil, Summer Doldrums and Racecar Rhapsody in this prep race for the 1600m Godolphin Mile (Gr.2). Mike de Kock says, “Honour Devil is well drawn (1) and ran as we expected first time, as he would have badly needed that run (when third in a conditions race).”
Although he wouldn’t be drawn into predictions, Mike de Kock is cautiously optimistic about the chances of Diana’s Choice and Hunting Tower who both line up in the Mahab Al Shimaal, a 1200m sprint on dirt that features Breeders’ Cup runner-up, Diabolical.
With so many South African runners and so many thrilling races on the Super Thursday card tonight, you can just imagine where the entire Summerhill team will be – cemented in front of the TV!