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Meydan's Super Saturday packed with stars


A seven race simulcast programme from Meydan this weekend lives right up to its 'Super Saturday' billing with a cluster of stars - equine and human - on show at Dubai's dazzling arena.
Rich Tapestry looks to have a huge chance of providing some early Hong Kong glory, facing just five rivals in G3 Mahab Al Shimaal (1200m, dirt) with Gerald Mosse likely to zip this world-travelling speedster into an early and perhaps uncatchable lead, a tactic achieved so successfully here last month.
Later on a bigger challenge faces Joao Moreira as he seeks to convert Gun Pit's unbeaten spree around Sha Tin's tight dirt track to G1 glory on the Meydan dirt in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (2000m).
Amongst his rivals will be Keen Ice who stunned the racing world in Saratoga's G1 Travers Stakes last August, overwhelming Triple Crown winning American Pharoah, that real life legend and overall world champion in 2015. 

Trainer Dale Romans has booked Ryan Moore - another real champion and fresh from a fruitful 11-winner stint in Hong Kong. Perhaps the brilliant Moore will steer four-year-old colt Keen Ice - at 122 the highest rated performer at Meydan on Saturday - back to the winners' circle.

However, listen to connoisseur trainer Mike de Kock - the South African who is enjoying yet another strong Meydan Carnival - and one might instead conclude that Mubtaahij - behind American Pharoah in both the G1 Kentucky Derby and the G1 Belmont Stakes - will be the winning answer to perhaps the biggest puzzle on this intriguing Saturday Meydan fixture.

De Kock says of Mubtaahij's American adventures: “During that period he spent 31 days in three different training centres which wasn't ideal, but the form of those US dirt races is huge.”

Referring to Mubtaahij's Meydan reappearance last month when starting favourite but only winding up fifth, De Kock strongly denies that it was a disappointing display.

“Maybe some people had their earplugs in but I said beforehand that he was only 80 -85% - we build up our horses with racing. I expect a big improvement on Saturday when he will be very near peak fitness,” observes the master trainer about the colt whose electrifying 8L demolition of nine rivals under Saturday's rider Christophe Soumillon in last year's G2 UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night was exhilerating to watch.

De Kock fields no less than four of the ten contenders in the concluding G1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m on the turf. Ratings would suggest that there is little between any of them though Soumillon's choice of Johann Strauss may be significant.

However they must all confront an awesome rival in the shape of Godolphin's Tryster.  Not only has he won eight of his eleven starts but when this imposing gelding made his Meydan debut in a G3 last month he achieved something quite unusual.

That 2000m event was initially conducted at a sedate pace but, after conceding some smart rivals a few lengths at the start, the five-year-old clocked a remarkable 21.74 seconds as he accelerated for the final 400m. It was a really stunning performance.

Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden again by William Buick, a similar exhibition could round off Meydan's Super Saturday on an electrifying note.



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