It could be a frustrating Dubai World Cup for Mike de Kock because he has some classy stock with him in Dubai but two of his three runners will be going into Saturday’s meeting at Meydan racecourse a little underdone.
He has three runners on the night, Marinaresco in the Dubai Gold Cup and Majestic Mambo and Yulong Prince, formerly Surcharge, in the strongly contested Dubai Turf.
Marinaresco has had a few runs in Dubai and showed his well-being with a good run over 2400m last time, when he ran on well to finish on the heels of the placed runners. Majestic Mambo has only had one run while Yulong Prince has not paid a competitive visit to a racecourse since winning the Daily News 2000, in which he beat Majestic Mambo by 0.75 lengths, at Greyville last year.
“We’re pretty lucky to get them in,” De Kock told Andrew Bon. “They certainly warrant their places on ability, it’s just unfortunate that the preparations have been so delayed. It’s good for South Africa.
“Yulong Prince and Majestic Mambo are two of the best of last year’s crop and Marinaresco was one of the best of his crop.
“While we haven’t had the ideal preps and are doing things, ideally, we wouldn’t do, they do have pretty good form. But I’m excited about the way they are peaking now. Albeit we might be between two or three weeks behind the eight ball, I like what I see.”
In his only outing, Majestic Mambo was up with the pace and only faded late to finish 6.70 lengths behind the winner.
“I thought it was a very good run,” said De Kock. “I firmly believe has improved on the 6.70 (lengths) he was beaten. He a tough horse; very honest.
“It didn’t go ideally in the race. I would have been happier had he sat a little further back, finishing at them. He was handy, got a little tired, and that’s why he had a good, hard race, which is what he needed. He had a good blow.
“I like what I see now. In the last three, four days his coat has turned, looks well. Of course, we would have liked another run going into the race. Hopefully we’ll go on to Hong Kong with either him or Yulong or both. They both have an international race in them.”
De Kock admitted the lack of preparation has not been ideal for Yulong Prince. “It’s common knowledge he was delayed in England, bizarrely. Long-term plans for him? I fully believe he has a really good race in him internationally.”
Based on their run in the Daily News, De Kock believes they represent the best of South Africa.
“I get quite excited by form like that. Obviously on World Cup night you have to step up a little. There are a lot better horses than they have raced against. But they are two pretty sound, nice horses, in a good space. Yulong Prince is going to go into the race probably at about 80%, unfortunately, but there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Bernard Fayd’Herbe has been given the rides on Marinaresco and Yulong Prince while Anton Marcus has flown to Dubai to ride Majestic Mambo. Marcus knows what it takes to win the Dubai Turf as he rode Jay Peg in a start-to-finish victory in the race in 2009.
First up is Marinaresco, who lines up in Race 3, the US$1.5-million Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m at 2.50pm SA time.
“Marinaresco is absolutely flying. He’s fully fit now, and if he stays the distance we’re really hopeful he’s going to be a big runner,” said Fayd’Herbe from Dubai on Wednesday.
The Dubai Turf over 1800m is Race 7 and is off at 5.20pm. Speaking about Yulong Prince, Fayd’Herbe added: “He’s been off for a long time, and it will be tough as he isn’t at 100% fitness, but is a very talented horse.”
Majestic Mambo made a fair enough local debut under Fayd’Herbe in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m, and raced handy before not unexpectedly fading out.
The Mambo In Seattle gelding should strip a lot fitter and will be watched with keen interest.
“He gave me a good feel,” commented Marcus guardedly following his workout on Thursday morning.
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