Just eight days remain in the 2011-2012 UAE racing season before the Dubai World Cup meeting – can you believe it? The season continues to progress well as the action builds towards the rich conclusion on 31 March. Here are some random thoughts on the last few days of racing, in no particular order.
1. Mutahadee’s two wins in handicap races look even better after stablemate Viscount Nelson took the Al Fahidi Fort (G2) under Kevin Shea. Take nothing away from a strong performance from the winner, left in South African flag blinkers, or second home Albaasil who ran another gallant second, but how much better does this Mutahadee look?
Both horses now race off ratings of 116, with Mutahadee getting a bump from 111 to 116 off his win from February 9. He gave away 4.5 kilos to Anaerobio, who seems listless on the Tapeta, after having defeated Viscount Nelson when getting a similar break in their first starts of the season. There haven’t been too many crazy revelations this season, but between Mutahadee, Viscount Nelson, Musir, and Mahbooba (more on her later), there is little doubt that Mike deKock has a local stranglehold on the top turf events.
2. Oh, speaking of de Kock, how about Zanzamar, who ran on incredibly well getting back to the grass for the first time since his youthful days back in South Africa. An impressive effort against a quality field.
3. Saeed bin Suroor, speaking to the Dubai Racing Channel’s Brett Williams, about jockeys riding Godolphin horses: “We make the decision” as to which jockey rides which horse. There has been a growing sense, especially amongst international punters on Twitter, that the jockeys have their choice, which is the case with some operations. Saeed did everything possible to dispel that notion.
4. On Friday, Mahbooba reaffirmed her love of some extra ground, and got a much more traditional pace setup, to win the Balanchine (G2) and set her up on a course for the Dubai City of Gold (G2). First City confirmed her form from the Cape Verdi (G2) and went well, but the setup was far from the same.
6. Farrier, a half-brother to G1 winner Pyro, and a full brother to G3 stakes winner War Echo, rolled home a three-length winner in the maiden opener on Friday. As the picture below shows, Richard Mullen had a good ride to go along with the sandy conditions.