x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

D-Day for Front House

The dark blue of the Magnier racing dynasty scored a first Dubai win on Super Thursday with strong-running filly Front House.

DUBAI // The dark blue of the Magnier racing dynasty scored a first Dubai win on Super Thursday with strong-running filly Front House. Now her trainer, UAE-based South African Mike de Kock, hopes she can go one better and win one of the richest turf races in the world at the season finale. Sue Magnier, wife of the Coolmore operation founder, John, owns a half share in the four-year-old along with long-time de Kock owner, Mary Slack. Slack will be in the paddock on Saturday to cheer the filly on.

"It was great to win with her," said de Kock yesterday, referring to the Group Two Dubai City of Gold success. "John Magnier hadn't had a winner in Dubai and Mary Slack is a big supporter of mine, so it was great to see." The way Front House did it was gutsy enough to earn her a place against the boys in the US$5million (Dh18.63m) Dubai Sheema Classic on Saturday. Drawn in gate 16 she was forced to go the long way round; swinging wide of many of her Sheema Classic rivals, slotting into third and staying the distance after the leaders faded.

Guided by jockey Kevin Shea she crossed the line ahead of runner-up Quijano, fourth in last year's Sheema Classic, stablemate King of Rome and the Luca Cumani-trained Purple Moon. De Kock compared Front House on that occasion to Sun Classique, the iron-willed filly he trained to win the 2008 Sheema Classic and the prospect of consecutive wins must be making his mouth water. It will not simply be a matter of showing up; a victim of her own success, Front House will carry more weight than Quijano over the shorter trip.

"She won the South African Oaks when she was six months younger than the other horses in the race so she's tough," said de Kock. "She's always there or there abouts." @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae