The 2013, 11-programme Dubai World Cup Carnival racing season will get under way tonight with a seven race programme that commences at 16h30. With some sizeable fields the Saftote Place Accumulator is bound to prove a popular betting option.
Heading the card is the Gr2 US$250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 to be held over 1600m on the all-weather surface for Thoroughbreds.
It will be accompanied by the Purebred Arabian version of the race, the Gr 1 US$55,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 over the same distance.
The night will also provide racing excitement on the turf for the first time this season, with the US$125,000 Al Rashidiya Trial that will be contested over 1800m.
“As we begin the Dubai World Cup Carnival season we are most pleased to welcome and thank Longines for their support in presenting tonight’s racing,” said Mahlih Al Basti, Chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee.
Longines Vice President of Sales, Charles Villoz said: “We are proud to be again the official timekeeper for the Dubai World Cup Carnival, culminating in the famous day of racing, the Dubai World Cup.
“In the framework of our partnership with Meydan Group, we are excited to experience the thrill of the races at the amazing Meydan Racecourse.”
Mike de Kock, who celebrates his 10th season in the UAE this year, is well represented with six runners.
His website indicates that the champion trainer was upbeat and confident that his first group of runners would perform well.
Mike commented: “Barring one or two horses, my string has had an opportunity to build up slower and steadier than in the last few seasons. Tonight’s runners will all improve for their outings. Things are a bit up in the air, we don’t know how fit our competitors are so it’s not easy to predict what will happen, but I’m happy that our first runners are more or less where I want them to be at the start of the season.”
The 4yo Final Button (Pat Cosgrave) will be first out for the stable in Race 2, a handicap over 1400m on the all-weather track.
“Final Button has been working extremely well on the all-weather surface,” Mike said about the former Cape-based runner who finished on the heels of champion miler Variety Club in the Gr3 Winter Guineas at Kenilworth last April
“I think the 1400m will suit Final Button well, he looks a smart sort and if he reproduces his track work I fancy he’ll be right there at the finish,” Mike said.
Last season’s classic contender, Mushreq, is a horse with much potential. He’ll be making his Carnival debut in Race 4, a Handicap over 1900m on the all-weather in the hands of Sheikh Hamdan’s contracted rider, Paul Hanagan.
Mike assessed: “Mushreq’s another horse who’s been showing very good work on this surface. He’s about as fit as we could get him for this race, he will come on as the weeks go by, but we’re keen to see how he goes here, he’s doing well.”
Five-year-old Rerouted (Christophe Soumillon), placed twice during last year’s Carnival, will take his place in the evening’s topliner, the $US125,000 Al Rashidiya Trial over 1800m on turf.
“Rerouted should give a good account of himself,” Mike said. “He has matured and he is sounder and stronger than last year so we’re expecting him to show.”
Disa Leader (Johnny Geroudis), Amanee (Soumillon) and Anaerobio (Cosgrave) will come under starters orders in Race 8, a handicap over 1400m on turf.
Jockey arrangements suggest that Amanee is the stable’s choice, but Mike felt this race was particularly hard to call. He said: “Amanee prefers slightly further, we’re preparing her for a Fillies Mile in a fortnight and she’s short of her best, though doing well.
“Disa Leader had a rushed preparation last year and despite that still placed twice in higher handicaps. He’s settled well now and I believe he’s a horse that will get better and better as the Carnival progresses. He’ll need the run, but he’s one we hope to see winning at some stage during this term.
“Anaerobio flattered only to deceive, last season. He showed flashes of his true ability but let us down a few times. He’s capable and fairly fit, but will need a lot going for him to win this race.”
Thanks to www.mikedekockracing.com