Mike de Kock will be looking to convert three seconds in the Dubai World Cup into a champagne celebration in the $10 million 2017 renewal of the big race at Meydan next Saturday.
With a first cheque of $6 million and stakes paid down to $200 000 for sixth, there is plenty at stake – but De Kock will be keen to tick this sought after trophy off his illustrious career bucket list.
The tough competitor knows well that nobody remembers who ran second.
South African racing’s favourite son looks set to have two horses running on Dubai World Cup night – Mubtaahij in the Dubai World Cup and Fawree in the UAE Derby.
Mubtaahij finished second behind California Chrome last year, following Lizard’s Desire in 2010 and Asiatic Boy in 2008. Victory Moon finished third for De Kock in 2004.
Mubtaahij has run only once this Dubai World Cup Carnival – that when second to Etijaah in a 2000m handicap on 23 February.
The son of Dubawi gave De Kock his sixth win in the UAE Derby two years ago and was an early fancy to win the World Cup – before Bob Baffert decided to travel with US superstar Arrogate. But more on that next week!
The enigmatic Fawree bids to make it Derby number score number 7 and is fourth favourite behind Thunder Snow, Epicuris and Master Plan.
Fawree won a 1600m maiden race by five lengths in January and in his only subsequent race – his third career start – unseated jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe at the start.
Well-known horse behaviouralist Malan du Toit has apparently been called up to assist a horse De Kock has labelled a ’complicated talent’.
The Al Quoz Sprint has been increased in distance from 1000m to 1200m and replaces the Dubai Golden Shaheen as the UAE second leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
The $1m turf sprint represents the culmination of a newly-implemented 1200m turf division featuring five key Dubai World Cup Carnival handicaps, and including the new $200,000 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint run on Super Saturday – dominated by Godolphin when Jungle Cat beat stable companion Baccarat.
Both are likely starters to take on Ertijaal next Saturday.