De Kock’s Strong Hand Today

Whistle Stop and Forries Waltz will be interesting runners for SA fans


Ad Idem is shaded by Local Time (red cap)

Ad Idem, touched off by Godolphin’s Local Time in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial over 1400m on dirt recently, could reverse the result in the UAE1000 Guineas (Race 3) over a mile at Meydan this evening.

Ad Idem (Paul Hanagan up) is one of 14 De Kock runners carded at this first Carnival meeting of February and Mike said: “Ad Idem has improved a lot since her debut here, she’s much fitter now and I’d rate her the horse to beat. She’s possibly our best on the night.”

While Local Time is half-a-kilo better off at the weights, the stable clearly expects Ad Idem to come into her own over the extra 200m and, possibly, to prevent the Godolphin-filly’s winning streak extending to five in a row.

Shahrasal (Dane O’Neill), who opened her Dubai campaign beaten under six lengths in an open handicap on dirt last week, is Mike’s second of six runners in a small 1000 Guineas field and he said: “Shahrasal ran quite well over 1800m last week,  the 1600m will probably suit. We’ve been a bit hard on her, but races are limited and there are only a handful of horses in this Listed contest. There is $US250, 000 at stake, so we’ll take our chances!”

Other runner comments:

Race 2:  Handicap over 1200m on turf:

Whistle Stop wins Graham Beck Stakes

Whistle Stop – very talented

Fountain Of Youth (Christophe Soumillon); Merhee (Johnny Geroudis); Whistle Stop (Dane O’Neill)

“Fountain Of Youth would have come on from his run last Thursday, but he’s still short of his best. There aren’t many races available so we’re running him again. Merhee has been disappointing in Dubai, but he’s best all-round form has been on turf and we’re expecting him to run well. Whistle Stop is a talented horse, he’s been doing quite well since arriving here but he needs this sprint to sharpen him up, he will improve and can be watched over further.”

Race 4: Meydan Classic Trial, 1400m on turf:

Gatecrasher Stakes winner Forries Waltz may be short of peak fitness

Gatecrasher Stakes winner Forries Waltz may be short of peak fitness

Forries Waltz (Soumillon);  Mastermind (Hanagan);  Toscanelli (Wayne Smith)

“I’m happy with Forries Waltz, he is very well but short of peak fitness. He likes the trip and should run a decent race, but again I must note he will be better with a race behind him. Mastermind ran a cracker over 1200m a fortnight ago and he’s fitter now. He tries 1400m and should see it out, he’s well and we’ll be looking for a good run from him. Toscanelli has done his racing in Ireland, he’s won over this distance and he was just out of the frame in a Gr1 last September, but he hasn’t yet shown us that he’s up to that level of form, this race will tell us more.”

Race 5: Handicap over 2810m on turf:

Star Empire (Soumillon); Mickdaam (Smith)

“Star Empire won this race in 2013 and finished second last year. This is his second run following a rest, but he’s game, honest and still very well and he’s likely to make his presence felt again. Mickdaam is an interesting runner for us, he tries this journey for the first time but we have a suspicion he will enjoy it and run a good race. He kept on in the Derby at Epsom as a three-year-old, then won a Gr3 over 2500m and he’s a six-year-old now, there is every reason to believe he’ll stay all the way.”

Race 7: Handicap over 1600m on turf:

Ajeeb (Soumillon);  Flying The Flag (Geroudis); Royal Ridge (Hanagan);n Captain Lars (Richard Mullen)

“Ajeeb is a nice type of horse and there was merit in his pipe-opener over 1000m here a month ago. He finished out of the frame at Graded level over 1600m when he raced in Australia, but he’s won well  over  1500m and we’re hoping the mile will be up his alley now, he should run well.  Flying The Flag is showing some fair work, but he needs to race to bring him on and he prefers further. Royal Ridge has an eachway chance, he looks course and distance suited and we can’t fault his work at home. Captain Lars ran out of gas when he came out for a run recently but he was only beaten 4.5-lengths needing it badly. He’s doing really well, he benefited from that run and is fitter now, we’re expecting him to feature.”

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