Fursa has her first outing at Meydan in UAE 1000 Guineas.
There are chances of good runs from several of Mike de Kock’s Blue Stable representatives at this weekend’s two meetings at Meydan – eight go to post this evening and five on Saturday afternoon.
Daqeeq (Race 2, Meydan Classic Trail on Turf over 1400m, Jim Crowley) is one of the most interesting runners. Sheikh Hamdan’s Australian-bred by former Dubai World Cup winner Medaglia D’Oro won his 1200m debut on turf in May 2016 in the fashion of a decent horse and has been brought to the desert with sand racing as his ultimate objective.
“Daqeeq is a nice horse, he has a US sand pedigree so we’re expecting him to do well in Dubai, but of course he’s had to do some travelling to get here,” said De Kock. “The competition is strong, so we’re starting him off in this turf race to see how he goes, to get some confidence.
“After this, we’ll look at the Listed Al Bastikiya over 1800m on sand.
“Megnaas (Christophe Soumillon) ran a poor race first time out on sand, but we’ve drawn a line through that. We’re switching him to turf and a much better run is likely.”
Mastermind (Bernard Fayd’Herbe), is one of the joint highest-rated runners in Race 4 over 1200m on turf. He has fair form over the course and distance and is well exposed, and De Kock said: “Mastermind’s 105 rating is a bit high. That will need to drop before he’ll be fully competitive again. He has a place chance.”
Another Australian-bred, former South African racer with excellent form is three-year-old Fursa (Soumillon), who will have her first run on sand on her Dubai debut, the UAE 1000 Guineas over 1600m on dirt. “Fursa is smart, we know that, but one can never be certain on this surface. They either deal with the sand here, or they hate it.
“Fursa is by Hard Spun, who is a predominant stallion on dirt, but there are no guarantees. Godolphin have a smart filly in the race, it looks a tough first call for our filly after her travels,” he said.
Nine-year-old Anaerobio is still doing fine in his work and he has a chance to earn another stake for the stable in the Range Rover Handicap over 1400m on turf. Pat Cosgrave gets the ride. The stable choice of three in the race is Tahanee, who was fancied to go close to winning both her Meydan runs to date and will go to the start well fancied, again.
“She is extremely well and we’re hoping for a big run,” De Kock said.
Johan Strauss, the problematic six-year-old entire, is expected to be in need of his first outing in almost a year. He’s talented, but will improve for the run.
De Kock feels Whistle Stop (Jim Crowley) is a horse who can yet win a race in the desert, despite having been a hard one to train. He’s having another run in Race 7, a handicap over 1800m on turf. “If we can get him Whistle Stop to relax and race handier, he can definitely finish in the money. We’re going to use pacifiers to this end and I’m expecting him to be thereabouts.”
De Kock’s comments for his runners on Saturday at Meydan
Race 3: Grade 3 Firebreak Stakes, 1600m on dirt: Lindo Amor (Soumillon)
“Having drawn at No 1 is a huge plus for us. Lindo Amor very much likes being drawn near the rail as opposed to away from it, we’ve seen it on the work track too when he runs with others. A tough field here, but he should run a good race.”
Race 4: Handicap over 1200m on turf: Dream Dubai (Cosgrave)
“This little horse is coming along steadily, he has improved and can run into the money somewhere.”
Race 6: Zabeel Feedmill over 1600m on turf: Suyoof (Crowley) and Muwaary (Antonio Fresu)
“Suyoof is the more talented of the pair, but Muwaary is fitter and coming to hand. I think both will run well, Jim Crowley picked Suyoof, he has been showing some good work after his travels.
Race 7: The Meydan Hotel over 2435m on turf: Saltarin Dubai (Soumillon)
“Saltarin Dubai has been our most disappointing runner this year. He doesn’t reproduce his work. We’ve tried just about everything, now we’re going over ground with him and we’re hoping for better.” – mikedekockracing.com