Racing UK

Mike De Kock 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival stable tour

Thursday 5 January 2017

By Geoffrey Riddle

Last season Mike De Kock had one of the worst Dubai World Cup Carnival campaigns he has experienced since racing in Dubai moved from Nad Al Sheba to Meydan for the 2010 season.

The most successful international trainer at the Carnival saddled ten winners from 89 runners and the victory of Forries Waltz in the Group Two Al Rashidiya was his only major winner in the three months of the Carnival at Meydan. 

De Kock has scoured the world far and wide for dirt performers, however, and has returned with a team of 24 for the Carnival, which starts on Thursday and runs through to Dubai World Cup night on March 25.

The South African trainer has a mixture of returning favourites and handicappers along with some potential new turf and dirt stars. Alongside stable parton Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, he also has horses owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Meydan Racing Committee chairman Malih Al Basti.

De Kock can call on Jim Crowley, who is the newly-retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoun, Christophe Soumillon, who is retained by Sheikh Hamdan bin Khalifa, and Bernard Fayd'Herbe. Pat Cosgrave, who used to ride for De Kock, is set for a sensational return to Meydan, having been refused a licence due to being on the Forfeit List.

Mike De Kock Dubai World Cup Carnival horses

Anaerobio (ARG) Catcher in The Rye – Portra Anala: 
Believe it or not, the now nine-year-old stalwart is back, he is looking good and still full of running. He’s won Carnival races for us in 2013, 2014 and even last year. He is sound, and who knows, he can earn again!. Runs in a seven-furlong handicap on Thursday.

Anaerobio has won four times at Meydan in the past three years. (Dubai Racing Club)

Banaadeer (AUS) More Than Ready – Provence:
He’s had a patchy spell since coming to Dubai in 2015, but started to find his feet towards the end of last season and he’s better off for now being gelded. I think he’s a horse that can win a Carnival race in 2017.

Daqeeq (IRE) New Approach – Asawer: 
A three-year-old by Medaglia D’Oro, bought in Australia by Angus Gold and I for Sheikh Hamdan along with Muwaary and Suyoof.  He won on debut for us over 1200m in South Africa. He only arrived in the UK from Mauritius yesterday and will only get to Dubai on 14 December. We’d like to try him on dirt, but he will be up against it getting here so late. We liked him as a two-year-old, he bears watching.

Dream Dubai (GB) Kyllachy – Welsh Anthem:
A three-year-old by Kyllachy with some fair UK form, sent to us by owner Malih Al Basti. He’s a seven-furlong turf horse, Group Three-placed and we’ll look for suitable races for him.

Eisenhower (USA) War Front – Volga:
He’s a lightly-raced four-year-old colt by War Front that came to us from Aidan O’Brien last year. He couldn’t race last season because of soundness issues, but he is sound and very well now, he could race for us at the first meeting of the new season.

Ertijaal (AUS) Hard Spun - Alharir:
He had fetlock surgery after running in Hong Kong last April, had a good rest and has recovered well. He is doing nicely and will run on the opening night.

Ertijaal is by dirt sire Hard Spun but did not appear to take to it last season in Dubai (Dubai Racing Club)

Fursa (AUS) Hard Spun – Red Princess:
Smart filly who won the Group Two SA Nursery in South Africa and then finished second in the Group One Alan Robertson earlier this year. We’re hoping to race her in some of the Carnival’s fillies’ features. She is a late arrival as she only got to the UK from Mauritius in mid November.

Johann Strauss (GB) High Chaparral - Inchmina:
A talented horse we’ve always thought a lot of. He’s had a wind operation, we’re hoping his issues are now out of the way so he can breathe like he should. He is capable of winning a Group race.

Light The Lights (SAF) Western Winter – First Arrival:
Decent South African import, and he’s been in Dubai for a few months, doing well. He runs on the opening night of the Carnival, and can earn here if he reproduces his best South African form.

Lindo Amor (ARG) Dynamix – Linda Love:
This is another horse bought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. He’s a 108-rated runner from Argentina with some high-level form and he has been acquired for racing on dirt.

Liquid Mercury (SAF) Trippi – Skip Poker:
The grey has won six of 13 starts, a good sort who won an excellent race for us last year but was injured after that. He is sound now and we’re expecting him to win again this new Carnival.

Mastermind (SAF) Var – Model I.Q:
He’s been a winner and a consistent earner for us at the Carnival since 2015 and once again is capable of getting into the action at the 2017 renewal of this festival.

Megnaas (ARG) Asiatic Boy - Fennana:
He’s a young gelding by Asiatic Boy – he easily won a 1000m race on the Polytrack at Greyville back in January and is training very well on dirt, he’s been here a while. I’m expecting quite a bit from this one, he’s one to keep an eye on.

Mubtaahij (IRE) Dubawi - Pennegale:
He will again be our headline horse this season, with the Dubai World Cup in mind.  He has enjoyed a decent season with three Group places in the US, he was in quarantine in the US on his way back in November, but was still in good racing shape and there was a training facility in quarantine, so he wasn’t far behind. We know what we have in him and we’re expecting a good season.

Mutamakkin (AUS) Redoute’s Choice – Quiet Maggy:
Mutamakkin showed us a lot in Dubai last season after arriving with good South African form, but disappointed in two starts. We discovered he was a rig, he had surgery and this season he can atone. He’s a decent horse.

Muwaary (AUS) O’Reilly - Silently:
A son of O’Reilly who won last year’s Group Three Graham Beck Stakes for us but then lost his way a bit. We’re looking forward to working with him in Dubai, he is a capable horse, but also one that only arrived in the UAE midway through December. He only got to Newmarket, UK, in mid November.

Noah From Goa (SAF) Tiger Ridge - Limerick:
Our star South African three-year-old is now four, and he hasn’t raced since January. He had a setback at Newmarket on his travels, threw a splint and was out for about 30 days, but he is doing well in Dubai and should race towards the middle or end of the Carnival.

Saltarin Dubai (ARG) E Dubai - Saltarina Fitz:
Here’s another horse who has raced successfully in Argentina and has been purchased by Sheikh Khalifa looking to race him on dirt. He runs in the opening race of the Carnival.

Sanshaawes (SAF) Ashaawes - Vicario:
Tough older campaigner, he’s won three and placed eight times for us here since 2014 and even had his turn in the Dubai World Cup. Still giving of his best at seven and can ring up the till again in 2017.

Sanshaawes has run 18 times at Meydan and is primed for another campaign in Dubai (Dubai Racing Club)

Suyoof (AUS) Magic Albert – Magic Harmony:
Suyoof is a talented three-time winner, Group One-placed, but again one of those that arrived late en route from the UK. He is a high-quality horse, and we’ll be hoping he can find his feet in Dubai quick.

Tahanee (ARG) Stormy Atlantic - Tawafeej:
Bred by Sheikh Khalifa, Tahanee is a good quality and versatile turf filly from Argentina with an 105 rating.

Tannaaf (IRE) High Chaparral - Wanna:
Tannaaf went off the boil after dead-heating in last season’s Qatar Derby, but he likes to race fresh, may have done too much racing and should be a stakes contender again this season.

Whistle Stop (SAF) Silvano – Gap Year:
He’s been in Dubai since 2015 and has only raced three times for a good second in a handicap last season. He’s had his issues, but he is a horse with ability and he is doing well and can pick up a Carnival race.

Zahee (NZ) Dylan Thomas - Zaheeya:
Another of our Carnival old-timers, he’s seven now and not done yet. He can pace it with the best of them on his day. Erratic, but capable and as we’ve seen with older horses, they keep earning at the Carnivals every year.

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