Master Of Hounds rewarded trainer Mike de Kock's faith in him, winning the Group 1 Jebel Hatta over Presvis and Wigmore Hall to book a place in the Dubai Duty Free race on World Cup night.
Trainer De Kock's Dubai Duty Free hope finally masters another victory
DUBAI // It took two seasons, but Mike de Kock's Master of Hounds finally achieved the second win of his career when bagging the Group 1 Jebel Hatta.
The former Coolmore inmate, last year's UAE Derby runner up, was fifth in the 2011 Kentucky Derby and 10th in the Belmont Stakes but earned his first Group 1 victory at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday night.
Now bound for the 1,800-metre US$5 million (Dh18.3m) Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night, Master of Hounds started smartly under Kevin Shea to lead for most of the race.
He kicked for home from 500m out and beat Godolphin's Mickael Barzalona-ridden City Style to the finish post by three quarters of a length.
Master of Hounds' win comes after finishing third to stable companion Viscount Nelson at last outing.
"He has been knocking on the door for a while," said De Kock. "I thought he was a little unlucky last time. My other horse won that race but this one suffered a little interference. He was still third but I felt he could have got closer."
Master of Hounds was drawn widest of all in gate 14 and had to win the long way round.
"It was always expected that he would be ridden confidently," said the South African trainer.
"Given his draw I told Christophe that if no one wanted to take the lead he should go out there and set the pace, and if anyone wanted to take him on then good luck to them."
De Kock said Master of Hounds would now stay on the turf.
"I really think this horse is most comfortable on the turf," he said. "He can be a little fragile and he just messes around at times and wants to be looked after but we knew he had a win in him."
Rivals Presvis and Wigmore Hall did not fair as well as their connections had hoped.
Luca Cumani's hold up runner Presvis failed to strike a blow after getting stuck on the inside under jockey Ryan Moore, while Wigmore Hall, for trainer Michael Bell, fought his way into sixth from the tail of the field under Jamie Spencer.