De Kock Pair Bid For Zabeel Mile Glory

Can de Kock record his fifth Zabeel Mile success?

This evening’s eighth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan  is another truly global affair, filled with quality horseflesh representing France, Sweden, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, USA, UK and UAE.

Marinaresco (photo: Gold Circle)

Marinaresco – will be better for his first start here

Three Group affairs highlight the $1,105,000 card—the Zabeel Mile (Gr2), UAE Oaks (Gr3) and Dubai Millennium (G3r)—supported by a triad of handicaps that could easily serve as preps for Dubai World Cup night fixtures with breakout performances.

Nine horses have been declared for a fascinating renewal of the Zabeel Mile sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (Gr2), including the winners of the latest two runnings.

The 1600m turf feature is an international affair, with and England, Australia and South Africa all being represented as well as a team of four Godolphin representatives.

When winning this race in 2017 for trainer Ahmad bin Harmash, Championship was progressing rapidly, but was ruled out of both Super Saturday and the Dubai World Cup meeting with an injury.

Owned by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the 8-year-old has not won since, but showed a bit of fight in him last out when sixth in the Al Fahidi Fort (Gr2) on Jan. 24. In this race last year, his best race since his return from injury, he was a solid runner-up to Janoobi.

“He ran well for a long way in his one start a month ago,” said Connor Beasley, who will once again ride the gelding. “Hopefully that should have put him spot on for this, but it does look a strong race.”

He led for the majority of the race last year before being snared by Janoobi, who provided South African Mike de Kock with a record fourth victory in the race, which was inaugurated in 2007 and has served as a key prep for the $6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (Gr1).

Wearing the colours of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 5-year-old son of Silvano has not won since, but should be in fine fettle, thanks to multiple runs already this Carnival, including a failed dirt try in last week’s Firebreak Stakes (Gr3).

Janoobi (striped cap) holds off Al Sahem – can he repeat his Zabeel Mile success?

Stable companion Marinaresco joins the line-up, with the 6- year-old Silvano gelding having just his second start for De Kock. Already a multiple Gr1 winner for previous connections, he should come forward in this run after having finished a disappointing ninth in the Al Fahidi Fort on his Meydan debut.

De Kock said: “We tried Janoobi on the dirt and he did not seem to like it,” De Kock said. “We know these conditions suit him, so hopefully from his low draw he can bounce back. Marinaresco needed that first run, as we knew he would, and we have targeted this race for him.”

Trainer Chris Waller of Winx fame saddles Australian Gr1 winner Comin’ Through, his only previous UAE runner when seventh in the aforementioned Al Fahidi Fort. Pat Cosgrave will again be in the irons.

Simon Crisford saddles classy multiple G1-placed Century Dream, the mount of Oisin Murphy who is having his first start since finishing third to European Horse of the Year Roaring Lion in the 1600m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) on British Champions Day in October.

The remaining four runners carry the Godolphin blue, with Christophe Soumillon aboard Top Score for Saeed bin Suroor and dual Zabeel Mile winner William Buick riding Mythical Magic, perhaps suggesting he is the main hope from three Charlie Appleby runners.

Gr3 winner and St James’s Palace (Gr1)-placed Wootton makes his first start for Appleby with James Doyle aboard, while Listed winner First Contact looks to improve upon a poor showing in the Al Rashidiya (Gr2) on Jan. 24.

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