Red Ray To Challenge Anaerobio`s Al Fahidi Fort Title

Photo: Dubai Racing Club //Andrew Watkins

Two Mike de Kock Runners Face Off in Group 2 Feature

South Africa has a remarkable record in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, the turf feature at Meydan Racecourse’s Gulf News-sponsored meeting of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday.

Trainer Mike De Kock has saddled the winner in each of the last three seasons and six times in total, while compatriot Herman Brown won the race in consecutive years with Linngari.

De Kock saddles three of the ten declared runners this year, including Anaerobio, winner of the race last year when it was contested over 1400m for the first time – the trip having been reduced from 1600m.

Stable jockey Christophe Soumillon rides him with Wayne Smith aboard stable companion Zahee. However, it could be Red Ray, the trainer’s third runner, who will prove the best of the trio throughout the season.

“Red Ray was with Joey Ramsden and is, hopefully, the ideal type for the Dubai World Cup Carnival,” said De Kock. “He is a Grade Three winner at home and finished last season with two seconds in Grade One company.

“Anton Marcus knows him very well and flies in to ride. The horse has always had a big reputation and has shown us plenty in his work.

“That said, he has shipped in from South Africa and our new arrivals have been needing a run. However, he seems in really good form.

“Anaerobio is just a tough and genuine horse. He has had a nice break since last season and will run his usual honest race.

“Ignore Zahee’s last run as he did not take to the dirt. He will run much better back on turf.”

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Godolphin’s Safety Check is already a Dubai World Cup Carnival winner this year having landed a course and distance handicap two weeks ago.

“The handicapper put him up to 110 for that win,” said Appleby. “So basically we have to try him at this level. He won well and has been working nicely since so we just need to see where we stand with him.

“The 1400m on turf appears ideal so this was the obvious race for him.”

Stable jockey, William Buick, takes over from apprentice Cam Hardie.

Paul Hanagan rides Shaishee for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trainer Musabah Al Muhairi. Winner of his first two starts this season, he was an excellent third on his most recent outing.

Those three outings were all on the Meydan dirt and this, interestingly, will be his first turf start in the UAE and since July 2013 in England.

Connections could have aimed him at Friday’s Jebel Ali Mile but he does appear to relish this 1400m trip and he has a great draw in stall one.

Irish challenger, Eastern Rules, was a dual Carnival winner for Michael Halford last year, including over course and distance and will, as usual, be ridden by Shane Foley.

“He has been in good form in his work,” said Halford. “This looked a good spot to bring him back out. It is a good race as you would expect but he should run well.”