x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mike de Kock's Igugu to make her return at Meydan Racecourse

The Emirates Racing Authority has been forced to reopen the Balanchine Stakes after South Africa's Horse of the Year scared off most of the competition, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

The Emirates Racing Authority has been forced to reopen the Balanchine Stakes after the presence of Mike de Kock's Igugu appeared to scare off most of the opposition for Meydan Racecourse's feature race on Thursday.

South Africa's Horse of the Year may not have raced for 12 months but only five others were entered for the Group 2 contest at Monday's entry stage.

The race was reopened until Tuesday morning, after Godolphin entered Sajjhaa, Dark Orchid and Spellwork, while Colliding Worlds for Pat Shanahan and Lily's Angel for Ger Lyons were the only other entrants for the US$200,000 (Dh734,610) event.

Prize money extends down to sixth place, which holds a value of $4,000.

Godolphin and De Kock also seem to have an iron grip on the Al Fahidi Fort, a Group 2 race over a mile that acts as a traditional prep for the Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night.

De Kock has entered a team of four, comprising Master Of Hounds, Await The Dawn, Musir and Mushreq, while Godolphin also have four. Saeed bin Suroor has also entered Sajjhaa in to the $250,000 race and could also run Do It All and Sandagiyr. Mahmoud Al Zarooni runs Group 1 winner Mandaean.

There was a boost for Purebred Arabian racing ahead of the Bani Yas Group 2 race.

St Moritz hosted 14,000 spectators on Sunday for its White Turf event and organisers of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup were so thrilled that they are already planning two races at next year's event.

"We would like to have a second Arab race here at White Turf next year. It will be for the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship and will be the race with the highest prize money for women riders," Lara Sarwaya, the director of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat racing festival, said.

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