Champion trainer Mike de Kock believes that his 2017 Equus Champion Two-Year-Old Mustaaqeem has plenty of improvement in him and that it serves no purpose jumping the gun and coming to conclusions after the exciting colt ran fourth at the Vaal on Thursday.
Mustaaqeem finished out of all the exotic bets in his comeback sprint, beaten just under a length by Africa Rising, showing pace.
The run would have been disappointing to punters, who had bankered the short-priced favourite in their exotic perms, Mathew de Kock, speaking on www.mikdekockracing.com , feels there should be more sympathetic consideration for the colt after his long lay-off.
He said: “Mustaaqeem came off knee surgery and a long rest and we could only give him a limited amount of work before the race to bring him on carefully. He showed good pace and just ran out of steam late which is natural.
“Mustaaqeem pulled up a bit stiff this morning (Friday), but he will be fine. He came into a competitive race after a break and he will improve a lot after this run.
“Rugby and soccer players coming of injuries play for 20 minutes before they get taken off, our horse is an athlete too, a competitor and he felt the same strain. I wish we had barrier trials here, one trial before the race would have done Mustaaqeem the world of good.”
Mike, speaking from Dubai, commented: “Mustaaqeem will make tons of improvement. I have always held the opinion that he wants a bit more ground. I’m not fazed right now. We can’t make assessments based on this one run. He has a good season ahead of him.
“Mustaaqeem’s brother Rafeef got beat and that didn’t stop him from winning a Grade 1. Let’s see where he is at the end of the season.”