x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

EERC member to go for Kilt Rock with Fallon on 'gut feeling'

Trainer Watson prefers Mark to Market but jockey Fallon takes the ride on stablemate and Byrne has a good feel about it.

Kilt Rock, ridden here by Kieren Fallon (red cap), is a fancied runner at Meydan tonight.
Kilt Rock, ridden here by Kieren Fallon (red cap), is a fancied runner at Meydan tonight.

Khan has big lead going into last day at the endurance race

DUBAI // Members of Emirates Entertainment Racing Club (EERC) syndicate will be out in force at Meydan Racecourse tonight as they saddle four runners in the concluding Spring Meeting of 2011.

"We will all be there with our shirts on for one last time," said the EERC's Justin Byrne, referring to the polo shirts, bearing the colours of the EERC racing silks, that syndicate members wear at the races.

"It's big night for us really. It's the last non-Carnival Meydan meeting of the season and we've had a lot of seconds and thirds so we hope we can come away with a win."

Carrying the hopes of the syndicate are Mark to Market and Kilt Rock in the 1,400m second race, the Dover Straits.

On the racecard, Mark to Market appears to be the first string with Kilt Rock carrying the red cap. Yet Byrne has a gut feeling that Kilt Rock, with Kieren Fallon in the irons, might just get the better of his stablemate from Doug Watson's yard.

Mark to Market won over a mile and shed his maiden at the beginning of the season and followed up with a second over 2,000m before finishing unplaced in his next two Meydan Racecourse outings.

Byrne is just a little concerned that the 1,400m may be the shortest distance at which the horse, ridden tonight by Pat Dobbs, is effective.

"Doug obviously thinks Mark to Market has the best chance and I don't disagree that you would probably edge towards him," said Byrne. "But I think that seven furlongs [1,400m] is very much the sharpest he can do,

"Kilt Rock has been ultra consistent and even when he's run flat he hasn't been beaten by much. I also think his wide draw in 14 may help him because he has been pinging out the gate and leading the whole way and it's been tough. He might get an easier trip. I just have this instinct about him."

Strecker, already a winner this season from the small string of new trainer, Stephane Chevalier, opposes the EERC duo.

Chevalier, who has a better strike rate than many longer-established trainers with three wins, two seconds and three thirds from six horses, obviously has his charges fit and ready to race and will be a danger.

Chevalier also saddles another of his winning runners, Lando Junior, in the final race, a 2,000m handicap. That horse won over 1,900m and was third over the 2,000m of this race, before coming 10th on the dirt at Jebel Ali. Now, back on the all-weather surface he obviously enjoys, his competitors will consider Lando Junior a threat.

Bidding to deny Chevalier's runner is another EERC hopeful, Clasp, who benefits from the 3kg claim of Harry Bentley, the apprentice rider.

"The 3kgs will help," said Byrne. "He has just faded in the final few strides of his races when he's been carrying 60kg and with 56kgs on his back tonight I think we have to be hopeful.

Mike de Kock, a force of nature at the Carnival, saddles two in this meeting with both Frosty Secret and Solid Choice contesting the 1,600m handicap feature race.

Kevin Shea, Solid Choice's jockey, said he was relishing the ride.

"He's doing very well with the step down in class we are expecting him to run very well," said the South African.