SA in the fray for top honours at DWC

SA in the fray for top honours at DWC

THE showdown is on between USA Horse of the Year Curlin, Jalil, who bounced into the picture with an impressive win on Super Thursday, and South African Mike de Kock&rsquo;s Asiatic Boy in this year&rsquo;s $6-million Dubai World Cup on Saturday next week. The probable fields were announced yesterday.<br />
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Photo: Mike de Kock will probably have runners in every thoroughbred race on World Cup night</p>

<p>Most pundits will not look beyond Curlin when it comes to putting their money down. The imposing four-year-old son of Strike Smartly is the highest-rated dirt horse in the world and was named the USA&rsquo;s 2007 champion after winning six of his nine starts last year. The runs that cemented the accolade were wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (G1) at Belmont Park and the Breeders&rsquo; Cup at Monmouth Park.</p>
<p>Trainer Steve Asmussen sent the imposing chestnut to Dubai early and Curlin impressed most pundits with a facile win in the Jaguar Trophy at Nad Al Sheba on 28 February. His critics, however, were concerned that jockey Robby Albarado had to shake the reins at his mount as they cornered, but Curlin took up the running with 400m to go and won under an easy ride. On Monday Curlin impressed all with a terrific workout at Nad Al Sheba two days ago.</p>
<p>Happy Boy and $9.7-million yearling purchase Jalil, Godolphin&rsquo;s duo from champion trainer Saeed Bin Suroor&rsquo;s yard, will also have plenty of supporters after winning rounds one and three of the Maktoum Challenge.</p>
<p>Jalil, which translates to “revered&rsquo;&rsquo;, was the most expensive racehorse to grace a British racetrack when he made his debut as a juvenile in 2006, but proved most disappointing on the turf there in winning only one race. However, he has blossomed in the Emirates this season and is unbeaten in three races, including Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge. Many believe he will be the one to chase Curlin home345.</p>
<p>Brazilian-bred grey Happy Boy, who Godolphin bought after his Round 1 Maktoum Challenge win on 17 January, will also be included in many Exactas, although he has yet to win at the highest level.</p>
<p>South Africa&rsquo;s big hopes in the world&rsquo;s richest race lie with Mike de Kock-trained duo Asiatic Boy, who won last year&rsquo;s UAE Derby at the same meeting, and Lucky Find.</p>
<p>Asiatic Boy won a sprint on his first appearance this year, but then thoroughly disappointed his supporters in the Burj Nahaar over 1600m six weeks later, leading many to speculate that something had gone drastically wrong with his preparation. De Kock, however, commented on his website: “Asiatic Boy seemed a bit flat on the night, but will be in top shape for the World Cup and there is nothing to be concerned about.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Lucky Find&rsquo;s inclusion comes as a bit of a surprise, given that all the local World Cup whispers have been for Asiatic Boy, but the Rich Man&rsquo;s Gold four-year-old did finish third, 2.50 lengths behind Jalil in Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge after winning Round 2.</p>
<p>Commented De Kock: “Lucky Find will probably improve a length or two (but) he will be up against it, we&rsquo;ll be hoping for a place.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Premium Tap and Vermilion, second and fourth in last year&rsquo;s Dubai World Cup, are also probable runners.</p>
<p>Three other G1 races will be run at the meeting – the $5-million Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m, turf), the $5-million Dubai Duty Free (1777m, turf) and the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m, dirt) – as well as two G2 events – the Godolphin Mile (1600m, dirt) and UAE Derby (1800m, dirt).</p>
<p>De Kock has a brilliant record on Dubai World Cup night. He won the Duty Free and UAE Derby in 2003 in his first season there with Ipi Tombe and Victory Moon respectively and followed up in those two races in 2004 with Right Approach and Lundy&rsquo;s Liability. He saddled Grand Emporium to win the Godolphin Mile in 2005 and won the UAE Derby again last year with Asiatic Boy. That&rsquo;s a formidable record by any standards at one of the most competitive international race meetings in the world.</p>
<p>He has runners in every race on Saturday next week and is likely to be hot favourite to win the 2008 UAE Derby in which he has two entries – Honour Devil and Royal Vintage.</p>
<p>Argentine-bred Honour Devil has won two of his three starts in the desert, including the G3 UAE Guineas in which he beat Royal Vintage, who was drawn wide, by 0.50 lengths. Asiatic Boy won the same race before going on to win the UAE Derby. However, he was in receipt of 1kg when narrowly beaten by his stablemate in the Al Bastikiya over the Derby course and distance on Super Thursday and most support will probably be for Royal Vintage.</p>
<p>Bin Suroor has four runners in the race, Oaks and UAE 1000 Guineas winner Cocoa Beach, My Indy and Etched (third and fourth in the UAE 2000 Guineas, but with scope for improvement) and Numaany, who finished third in the Al Bastikiya.</p>
<p>De Kock will saddle Archipenko in the Duty Free and he could take on SA champion Jay Peg and Linngari, who ran disappointingly in last year&rsquo;s renewal. Both Jay Peg and Linngari are trained by Herman Brown, who has had a quiet Carnival but will be out to make amends on World Cup night.</p>
<p>Linngari has run twice this year, winning a 1600m race and then finishing fourth behind Archipenko in the Al Fahidi Fort, while Jay Peg has not won in the desert, but did improve in his third start there when beaten only a length by Lord Admiral (renews rivalry) in the Jebel Hatta over the course and distance.</p>
<p>Notoriously one of the hardest races to win on World Cup night, the 2008 Duty Free will be another tough call with competitors from all over the world, including Tony Cruz-trained Bullish Luck representing Hong Kong.</p>
<p>South Africa is well represented in the Sheema Classic with Oracle West and Sun Classique from the De Kock yard as well as Brown&rsquo;s Sushisan in the possible field. Sun Classique is likely to start a short-priced favourite.</p>
<p>The likely runners with trainers for the races on Dubai World Cup night (the fields will be declared next Monday 24 March and released at the post position draw ceremony on Wednesday 26 March):</p>
<p><strong>DUBAI WORLD CUP<br />
</strong>A P ARROW Todd Pletcher<br />
ASIATIC BOY Mike De Kock<br />
CURLIN Steve Asmussen<br />
GLORIA DE CAMPEAO Pascal Bary<br />
GREAT HUNTER Doug O’Neill<br />
HAPPY BOY Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
JALIL Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
KOCAB Andre Fabre<br />
LUCKY FIND Mike De Kock<br />
PREMIUM TAP Julio Gardel<br />
SWAY YED Saud S Al Kahtani<br />
VERMILION Sei Ishazaka<br />
WELL ARMED Eoin Harty</p>
<p><strong>DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC<br />
</strong>BETTER TALK NOW Graham Motion<br />
DOCTOR DINO Richard Gibson<br />
GOWER SONG David Elsworth<br />
GRAVITAS Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
LATENCY Juan Udaondo<br />
LITERATO Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
MOURILYAN John Oxx<br />
ORACLE WEST Mike De Kock<br />
QUIJANO Peter Schiergen<br />
SPRING HOUSE Julio Canani<br />
SUN CLASSIQUE Mike De Kock<br />
SUSHISAN Herman Brown<br />
VIVA PATACA John Moore<br />
YELLOWSTONE Jane Chapple-Hyam<br />
YOUMZAIN Mick Channon</p>
<p><strong>DUBAI DUTY FREE<br />
</strong>ADMIRE AURA Hiroyoshi Matsuda<br />
ARCHIPENKO Mike De Kock<br />
BULLISH LUCK Tony Cruz<br />
CREACHADOIR Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
DARJINA Alain De Royer Dupre<br />
FINSCEAL BEO Jim Bolger<br />
FLORAL PEGASUS Tony Cruz<br />
JAY PEG Herman Brown<br />
LINNGARI Herman Brown<br />
LORD ADMIRAL Charles O’Brien<br />
MAJESTIC ROI Mick Channon<br />
NICONERO David Hayes<br />
RAMONTI Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
SEACHANGE Ralph Manning<br />
VODKA Katsuhiko Sumii<br />
WEST WIND Saeed Bin Suroor</p>
<p><strong>DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN<br />
</strong>AFRASHAD Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
BARBECUE EDDIE Brian J Koriner<br />
BENNY THE BULL Richard Dutrow Jr<br />
BUSHWACKER William Currin<br />
COLBALT BLUE Satish Seemar<br />
DIABOLICAL Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
DRIFT ICE Mike De Kock<br />
ESPERAMOS Wesley Ward<br />
IDIOT PROOF Clifford Sise Jr<br />
MUNADDAM Erwan Charpy<br />
MUTAMARRES Doug Watson<br />
NARC Mike De Kock<br />
NEW FREEDOM Aditiyan Selvaratnam<br />
SALAAM DUBAI Aditiyan Selvaratnam<br />
SARISSA Pascal Bary<br />
STAR CROWNED Rashid Bouresly</p>
<p><strong>UAE DERBY<br />
</strong>COCOA BEACH Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
ETCHED Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
HONOUR DEVIL Mike De Kock<br />
IIDE KENSHIN Mitsugu Kon<br />
LIGHT GREEN Pedro Nickel Filho<br />
MASSIVE DRAMA Dale Romans<br />
MY INDY Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
NUMAANY Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
ROCK ASCOT Doug Watson<br />
ROYAL VINTAGE Mike De Kock<br />
STRIKE THE DEAL Jeremy Noseda<br />
YANKADI Barry Hills<br />
ZAIN ALMA AENEE Julio Gardel</p>
<p><strong>GODOLPHIN MILE<br />
</strong>ALEUTIAN Fawzi Nass<br />
BAHARAH Gerard Butler<br />
BARCOLA Mark Hennig<br />
BLACKAT BLACKITTEN Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
DIAMOND STRIPES Richard Dutrow Jr<br />
DON RENATO Stephane Chevalier<br />
ELUSIVE WARNING Saeed Bin Suroor<br />
GOLDEN ARROW Erwan Charpy<br />
GREEN COAST Doug Watson<br />
HALKIN Fawzi Nass<br />
JET EXPRESS Ali Rashid Al Raihe<br />
LUCKY FIND Mike De Kock<br />
NOTIONAL Doug O’Neill<br />
ROSBERG Erwan Charpy<br />
ZAKOCITY Ger Smith</p>
<p><strong>DUBAI KAHAYLA CLASSIC (Purebred Arabians)<br />
</strong>AL JALFANE Watson, Doug<br />
AL MOUTAWAKEL Seemar, Satish<br />
FRYVOLOUS Frazier, James<br />
KANDAR DU FALGAS Watson, Doug<br />
KERBEL LOTOIS Seemar, Satish<br />
MADJANI Duffield, Gillian<br />
MIZZNA Lemartinal, Eric<br />
PARIS GAGNER Watson, Doug<br />
SANTHAL Charpy, Erwan<br />
SHADIYDA Lemartinal, Eric</p>

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