Lehaaf and Almoonqith Star For Mike de Kock in Dh140,000 Meydan Sobha Feature

Dubai Racing Club

South African Handler Fresh from Carnival 2000 Guineas Trial Success

Mike De Kock bids to continue winning ways tomorrow (Saturday), following his Dubai World Cup Carnival 1-2 in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial on Thursday, courtesy of Mubtaahij and Ajwad.

While Saturday’s Meydan Sobha card may not be part of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, there is still plenty of class, with the cream of the talent finding a berth in the penultimate Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One Handicap over a mile of Meydan’s turf course.

Getting underway at the earlier-than-usual time of 3pm, the race features 13 runners, including the Mike de Kock-trained pair Lehaaf and Almoonqith.

Both have the benefit of a run already this season, though they were both well beaten on the Meydan dirt surface, Lehaaf on New Year’s Eve, Almoonqith last week.

Lehaaf, one of five in the race owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the choice of the owner’s retained jockey, Paul Hanagan.

almoonqith 0
Almoonqith bids to add to this win in an 1800m turf handicap at Meydan Racecourse in February 2014 - Credit: Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins

“Both will appreciate the return to turf,” said De Kock. “They also needed their first runs and have improved fitness-wise since. It looks a competitive race but, hopefully, they should both be competitive.”

Doug Watson saddles two for the same owner, with stable jockey, Pat Dobbs riding Shebebi and Sam Hitchcott aboard stable companion Mujrayaat.

Sheikh Hamdan’s second jockey, Dane O’Neill, has elected to ride Mundahesh, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe, leaving Silvestre De Sousa to ride the owner’s fifth runner, Tanfeeth. He is trained by De Sousa’s main employer, Musabah Al Muhairi.

Stable jockey, Richard Mullen, rides Royal Revival for Satish Seemar with apprentice, Marc Monaghan, on stablemate Montmorency.

In a seemingly wide open race, Now Spun represents the Ali Rashid Al Raihe/Royston Ffrench combination and Genius Boy should not be ruled out. Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, Adrie De Vries rides.

Oisin Murphy rides Canwinn for Dhruba Selvaratnam and they too have to be considered.

There is also an equally competitive 1200m turf handicap for which 15 have been declared, including De Kock’s Mastermind, the choice of Hanagan from five Sheikh Hamdan-owned runners.

The trainer also saddles Journeyman with Wayne Smith aboard.

“Journeyman ran well enough over 1400m on dirt last week,” said De Kock. “He would have needed that run and will have improved a lot for the outing. He should run well.

“Mastermind has only had two starts and is a very promising type. He will certainly improve for the run and more racing. He is perhaps one with more to offer down the line.”

Kilt Rock was a course and distance winner last season for Doug Watson and Pat Dobbs. He is owned by EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) whose manager Justin Byrne said: “We were keen to get him back on the Meydan turf. He has been a great servant to the club over the years and we would love to think he has wnother win in him.

“Whether that is at Meydan or back at Jebel Ali remains to be seen.”

When Kilt Rock won over course and distance last February, he was chased home by Desuetude, again in opposition for Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen but not seen in action since.

The weights are headed by Firebeam and Spirit Of Battle, trained by Ahmad bin Harmash and Abdulla bin Huzaim respectively. Ahmad Ajtebi rides the former with Tadhg O’Shea on the latter.