A top class weekend of racing in the UAE came to a close on Friday afternoon with a handy six-race meeting at Jebel Ali, replete with storylines. But the main talk of the 13-races over the last two days was Musir’s tidy victory in the Maktoum Challenge – R1 (G3). The son of Redoute’s Choice exploded over a mile at Veliefendi when landing the Topkapi Trophy in early September and may have even surprised trainer Mike de Kock with a masterful first-up performance. The final time of 1:35.85 was just off the record-setting mark set in 2011 by Skysurfers. Master of Hounds, last seen in a muddy mess in the 12-furlongs of the Belmont Stakes, ran on from the tail and galloped out well past Musir (pictured below) and was declared by de Kock as a prime Dubai World Cup chance.
Mendip, well-known as a horse that flourishes first-up, never got a run and finished fourth after a slightly-troubled break that may have kept him out of the optimal position.
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Both horses in the quinella are owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and due at least another run during the Carnival before their World Cup programme goals. Musir is likely a Dubai Duty Free (G1) horse, per de Kock.
Earlier, Singapore’s Dark Matter (pictured below) rode the rail under Ted Durcan to score an upset win in the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial over fast-closing Kinglet and Godolphin’s favoured pace, Rassam. Trained in the island nation by Steven Burridge, Dark Matter’s first up win is of dramatic encouragement for There is little doubt that Kinglet ran the eye-catcher, going 14 metres more than Dark Matter, according to the Trakus data, available HERE from the Dubai Racing Club website.
One of the most intriguing performances came from Songcraft (below) in Thursday’s finale. Now an unbeaten three-from-three, the son of Singspiel has now recorded wins from 1,800 to 2,400 over the grass, all by relatively comfortable, but narrow margins. While wearing the oft-considered third-string red cap for Godolphin, Sylvestre DeSousa seemed to have the measure of longshot Belgian Bill throughout. Godolphin’s top runner, Alkimos, did not return to form, confirming DubaiRaceNight.com observations in our pre-race form analysis. Where this guy goes is anyone’s consideration – handicapper Melvin Day will be in a tricky spot over his future rating, but presumably, it would shoot higher than his initial 105 and could push him out of the 100-110 rated events. A go in stakes company, or over farther, is a likely consideration. Mikhail Glinka, having his first start since a troubled run in the Canadian International (G1), ran a sneaky good race first-up, and is one to consider in a similar race next time.
Friday’s Jebel Ali Stakes (Listed) went the way of front-running Treble Jig under Wayne Smith, who recorded a keen double on the day, along with Richard Mullen. The final margin, running up the hill, was a lengthening ten lengths for the son of Gone West who is a confirmed danger when let loose on the lead over any surface. He was backing up after running off too quick in the 2,800 metres New Year’s Eve test at Meydan, which was preceded by a front-running win at Abu Dhabi.
The opener on the Friday card saw the fourth consecutive win for Kilt Rock (pictured below, multi-coloured stripes), racing for the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club.
With three wins over 1,000 metres under his belt, he stretched to 1,200 against some better company, managing the same result. The final time of 1:11.07 was only .14 slower than the fastest of the season recorded on the straight course, with the entirety of the trip run up-hill. Alo Pura recorded that measure on December 30 off a rating of 104, and carrying 3 kilos less than Kilt Rock. This guy is a force at Jebel Ali and has run well at Meydan before. A reasonable rating increase would see him go up at least six pounds for the effort considering the final timing. Satwa Street, who carried 52.5 kilos under Mirco Demuro, set a fast pace and could not hold off the onslaught of the streaking Kilt Rock.
Youm Mutamiez (left, below) concluded the day for Musabah Al Muhairi and Wayne Smith, with a solid four-length tally in his all-important third-start of the campaign, greatly reversing form from his first two starts.