x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Victorious Musir is owner's pride

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa enjoyed his first Group One success as an owner/breeder on Africa's biggest day of racing late on Saturday.

Trainer Mike de Kock, left, would have been a happy man after his horses did well at the Durban July over the weekend.
Trainer Mike de Kock, left, would have been a happy man after his horses did well at the Durban July over the weekend.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa enjoyed his first Group One success as an owner/breeder on Africa's biggest day of racing late on Saturday and will now bring his winning two-year-old, Musir, to contest the new season at Meydan. Yet Musir - meaning "determination" in Arabic - who is trained by Mike de Kock, may never have had the chance to race for his breeder if he had been more popular at a Sydney yearling sale in 2008.

Sheikh Mohammed withdrew the youngster from the ring after the son of Redoute's Choice, one of Australia's best sires, failed to reach his US$900,000 (Dh3.3m) reserve. A private buyer later approached the breeder and offered the reserve price but Sheikh Mohammed, despite being advised to sell, was determined to hold on to the well-bred colt and instead turned down the money and sent him to train with de Kock.

Musir rewarded his breeder's conviction by winning the Group One Golden Horseshoe over 1400m at Greyville on Durban July day and now looks set to continue Sheikh Mohammed's superb record with three-year-old runners in the UAE. Asiatic Boy and Honour Devil were both previous UAE Derby winners for Sheikh Mohammed on World Cup night, yet Musir is the first that the Sheikh has bred. "This is a beautifully-bred two-year-old colt who is already a Group One winner and he will further strengthen our three-year-old races in Dubai," said Martin Talty, International Racing Manager for Dubai Racing Club.

"Musir is one of the better juveniles I've seen," said de Kock after the colt's three-and-a-half-length victory under Anthony Delpech. "We think he's a special horse." Another de Kock charge, Zirconeum, runner-up from a poor draw in the Durban July, also looks to be Dubai-bound next season. Big City Life, trained by Glen Kotzen, held on to finish ahead of the spirited de Kock filly, a daughter of Jallad who started from stall 19, and another de Kock runner, Forest Path, drawn in 20, was third.

Pre-race favourite, Pocket Power, finished fifth, three lengths off the winner and just behind stable mate, Thundering Jet. Meanwhile, Asiatic Boy, now under the care of Kiaran McLoughlin, came runner-up in his second US start in the Group Two Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on Saturday. stregoning@thenational.ae