DUBAI // Mike de Kock's UAE specialist, Musir, is to be campaigned for the Dubai Duty Free after romping home in the Group 3 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 on Thursday night.
Musir seems back to his imperious best following what for him a disappointing last season when he finished seventh in the2011 Dubai World Cup.
Christophe Soumillon steered him to an easy three-length victory in Thursday's 1,600m Tapeta contest.
De Kock said he would switch his galloper back to turf this season rather than have another shot at the World Cup.
"Christophe has been saying since he got back that he's been doing better," said the South African. "I think I'm going to get him back on the turf and run him in the Dubai Duty Free."
Soumillon warned there was more to come.
"This horse is a superstar," He said. "He's a really amazing horse. It was amazing how he won the Derby [in 2010]. He's very strong this year and he's going to get better."
De Kock scored a one-two with new acquisition, Master of Hounds, formerly an Aidan O'Brien inmate, ridden by Kevin Shea crossing the line behind the 2010 UAE Derby winner. The Group 1-rated Purebred Arabian version of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1, also over 1,600m, produced the most dramatic finish of the night.
Sahib du Clos is making a habit of claiming the UAE's most important Arabian races after winning the National Day Cup in Abu Dhabi at last outing. Last night he edged out Kandar du Falgas in a photo finish.
Saifaldin Deeb's charge set down his President's Cup credentials when coming from behind to pip Doug Watson's Kandar du Falgas on the line.
Kandar du Falgas appeared to have the race sown up from 200 metres out, but the fast-finishing Sahib du Clos whipped around the back of the field to claim victory by a lither of a nostril.
"We wanted to keep him at the back because he has a good turn of foot," said Sahib du Clos's owner, Faisal al Rahmani. "But they didn't go very fast. But he has enough speed and he got himself out of trouble. His next race will be the President's Cup."
Watson may have been denied victory in the Arabian race, but his sable stalwart, Barbecue Eddie, produced the goods just 30 minutes later for jockey Richard Hills.
The consistent eight year old had been second at last outing in December and his trainer had him spot on for last night's 1,400m Tapeta contest, winning readily by a length-and-three-quarters.
British trainer, David Nicholls, a regular at Meydan Racecourse and also at the old Nad al Sheba racecourse over the years, added to his win last week - his first in 66 attempts in Dubai - last night by following up with his second victory at the track courtesy of the same horse, Addictive Dream, under Adrian Nicholls.