News

Classy field lays siege to Fort

The Group Two Al Fahidi Fort highlights the Commercial bank of Dubai sponsored sixth meeting of the 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival which also features the first two legs of the Meydan Masters international Jockeys series.

The 1600m Turf contest has attracted a field of 12 with the Carnivalís leading trainer Mike De Kock looking to improve his and South Africaís formidable record in the race. De Kock has won the race three times, while his homeland have supplied six of the last eight winners.

This year De Kock saddles both Our Giant and Raihana with the pair seeking second 2011 Carnival victories. Last year`s UAE Oaks heroine Raihana was the smooth winner of a 1800m Turf handicap last week and is the choice of Christophe Soumillon.

De Kock said: "We are keen to try Our Giant over the 1600m and back on turf but we have high hopes for Raihana and it would be great to think she is a Dubai Duty Free filly."

Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe will saddle Derbaas who has won his last three starts at Meydan, including over course and distance. Richard Hills has chosen to ride him from three runners owned by his main employer His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Assistant trainer Jailani Sidiqqi said: "The horse is improving fast and deserves this step up in class. We are definitely hoping for a big run."

Jebel Ali Mile winner Snaafy and Godolphin`s Invisible Man are others to consider from the local contingent.

International flavour is offered by Thai Haku from France runner-up in the Cape Verdi over course and distance last time, as well as two runners from the UK, David Simcock`s Bushman and Luca Cumani`s Mabait.

Qatar are also represented with Hearts of Fire, a Group One winning juvenile in 2009 in Europe. He certainly cannot be discounted after his 550,000 guineas sale last year.

The main supporting race is the Listed Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 2810m. Nine have been declared and De Kock`s Star Empire is another seeking a second 2011 win for the trainer. His main rivals appear to be Opinion Poll, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni and the Luca Cumani-trained Drunken Sailor.

The first leg of the Meydan Masters is a 1600m All-Weather handicap in which William Buick`s mount Quick With will be hard to beat for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The second leg is also on All-Weather but over 2200m and looks very competitive. Japan`s Hiroyuki Uchidalooks to have a big chance on Mahmood Al Zarooni`s Prizefighting.