Simcock Strikes Thrice for Elusive Success by Julian Muscat

British trainer David Simcock has savoured a vintage year since he saddled a pair of horses on Dubai World Cup night 12 months ago.

Those two horses, Trade Storm (GB) and Sheikhzayedroad (GB), subsequently won Grade 1 races on an unforgettable afternoon for Simcock at Woodbine, in Canada, on September 14. It was a maiden triumph for each of them at the highest level.

Simcock endorsed those gains when he saddled Madam Chiang to win the Group 1 British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on October 18 - and he reaped a further bounty when Caspar Netscher (GB) annexed the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes, also at Woodbine, 24 hours later.

Caspar Netscher now joins Trade Storm and Sheikhzaydroad in Simcock`s three-pronged assault on Saturday. All three horses warmed up for their respective assignments at Meydan on Super Saturday, March 7 - and all three earned a healthy slice of the pie.

Caspar Netscher only gave best in the final strides of the Group 3 Meydan Sprint sponsored by Arabian Adventures over the same 1000m journey he will tackle on Saturday in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint empowered by IPIC. It was the six-year-old`s first run for more than four months.

"I was delighted with that," Simcock said. "It is the first time we`d had a clear run with the horse since May last year. He had a pelvic problem which made the whole season particularly difficult. Everything was a rush, but he is now much better physically."
Sheikhzayedroad, for his part, made Sky Hunter work hard to land the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold sponsored by Emirates Skycargo, when he gave best in the last 200 of the 2400m journey. He, too, had not run since October.

"We didn`t really know where we were with him before that race," Simcock reflected of the six-year-old.

"He is a hold-up horse who had to make an early move around the turn because there wasn`t much pace in the race. Mind you, it doesn`t look as though there will be much pace in Saturday`s race either."

Last but not least is seven-year-old Trade Storm, who will be making his third consecutive start in the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World. This is an ultra-competitive renewal of the 1800m Group 1 test but Trade Storm`s late-closing style should serve him well.
Simcock has yet to saddle a winner on World Cup night and Caspar Netscher appears his brightest prospect. The six-year-old is certainly entitled to headline billing among eight European runners - although Simcock has a healthy respect for the Hong Kong raiders.

"We are really pleased with the way all three horses are coming into their races," he said. "Trade Storm and Sheikhzayedroad are both straightforward horses to deal with. All three are mature horses who you can`t help but become attached to."

Connections of Simcock`s three runners doubtless feel the same about their trainer, whose results continue to improve with time`s passage.

Nothing would animate Simcock more than to pick up where he left off in 2014, when he posted a series of personal bests. A maiden winner on Dubai World Cup night would be the best yet.