We are massively proud of Mubtaahij tonight,” said Mike de Kock after the game four-year-old and his partner Christophe Soumillon grinded their way into second in Saturday’s US$10-million 2016 Dubai World Cup, beaten three-and-three-quarters in the 2000m dirt spectacular by US star, California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza.
“I tell you, we were beaten by some racehorse. California Chrome had to race wide throughout and his saddle slipped in the race, but look at the convincing way he won. We’ll happily take our second to the best dirt horse in the world. We are over the moon!” Mike enthused.
Mike, who had told the media and Mubtaahij’s supporters to expect his best on World Cup night, was vindicated and he commented: “I couldn’t have the Super Saturday results. Mubtaahij reversed the form of the Maktoum Challenge Round 3 with Special Fighter and Gun Pit.
“Christophe and I discussed the Dubai World Cup at length this week and we envisaged what would happen. We were keen to lead the race, to make the pace if we had to. As it happened he jumped well, found a dream passage on the fence and settled in the running.
“Mubtaahij stays very well and he fought all the way for a well deserved second, congratulations to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and well done to Christophe for a super ride. He masterfully got into that spot on the inside fence.”
While Mike said that no immediate plans were in place for Mubtaahij next, the form of this renewal of the Dubai World Cup is likely to carry much merit. California Chrome set a new track record in winning, and in the process became the all-time leading money earner in North American racing history.
“Today it proves how he can run when he’s 100 per cent, said Espinoza, who scored his first Dubai World Cup win in his fourth try. Last year he (California Chrome) finished second and it was not very fun. My goal after winning the Triple Crown was to win the Dubai World Cup and we did it.”
The winner’s share of $6 million pushed California Chrome’s career earnings to $12,532,650, eclipsing 2008 Dubai World Cup winner Curlin ($10,501,800) as the US all-time leading money earner.
“He is a once in a lifetime horse,” trainer Art Sherman said. “It (all-time leading US earner) was a goal in the back of my mind. You think of all the great trainers in the history of this game and you really appreciate that it happened to us.”
Enjoy all the interviews of the big day here