Shaikh Hamdan backs Mukhadram

Shaikh Hamdan backs Mukhadram

Shaikh Hamdan backs MukhadramVersak PY fancied in Dubai Kahayla Classic, the curtain-raiser of the world’s richest race day

By Hisham Al Gizouli

Published: Thu 27 Mar 2014, 10:17 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:26 PM

Shaikh Hamdan during his meeting with the media at the Nad Al Sheba Majlis. Picture courtesy PK Majeed/Al Adiyat

Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, fancied Mukhadram to win the 19th running of the Dubai World Cup Group-1 at Meydan on Saturday.

“I didn’t bring him all the way from Europe to race in Dubai for nothing,” the leading international horse breeder and owner told international media representatives at the Nad Al Sheba Majlis on Wednesday.

“The only concern is the tapeta,” he added. “He didn’t race on the surface before and till now he’s training on turf to avoid any mishap before the race,” he clarified.

Shaikh Hamdan has won this race twice in 1999 and 2007 through Al Mutawakel (Saeed bin Suroor/ Richard Hills) and Invasor (Kiaran McLaughlin/ Fernando Jara) respectively.

“I have bought Mukhadran when he was a foal five years ago for £190,000 and he didn’t race at the age of two-year-old, but he has won two of his five starts at the age of three years before he went on to make his first Group-1 success and finished second in three Group-1 events and he’s now rated 123,” he said.

“On his last start, Mukhadram sustained bone fracture, but he was treated and recovered well. My ex-retained jockey Richard Hills rode him for a piece of work on the All Weather track and the Englishman was delighted. In all cases, I’m expecting him to show the best of him and finish in the top three,” he said.

When asked why he didn’t send Mukhadram to Dubai Sheema Classic or Dubai Duty Free, Shaikh Hamdan said he needed to be represented in the main race and Mukhadram is his best candidate right now.

Speaking about the absence of the American horses, Shaikh Hamdan said when Animal Kingdom had won the title last year, his trainer said: “Thanks God, we have won the Cup and our horse is safe.”

“The Americans didn’t like to send their horses to race on the surface after having removed it from all their tracks and never race on the tapeta anymore,” he said.

Regarding the impact of the rain showers on the surface, Shaikh Hamdan said it won’t make remarkable change in the going of the tapeta. Less than one hour under the open sun of Dubai will return the track to its original situation. “But, it may makes things different in the turf races,” he noted.

Shaikh Hamdan hailed the hard work of the South African trainer Mike De Kock saying that the man has done a lot for him.

“He’s a top trainer in South Africa and has been doing well in Dubai, but he didn’t prove himself in UK,” he noted.

“In racing world, trainers need to see their horses every morning and look after their feeding and wellbeing by themselves and not through their assistants. Feeding is the only thing which requires the direct involvement of trainers and Mike De Kock won’t be able to be everywhere at the same time.

“Soft Falling Rain is an example of a horse which could have been among the top performers from five to eight furlongs. He did well on good to fast ground at Newbury and Newmarket before he has disappointed on the soft ground at Ascot. This went unnoticed by the South African trainer due to his busy agenda,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shaikh Hamdan said they have been working with Versak PY and he’s in great form to win the Dubai Kahayla Classic Group-1, the curtain raiser of the world’s richest race day.

“We have discovered why Versak PY was always beaten in the final strides and the problem was traced and solved. There’s a new strategy for the horse and hopefully he will be able to strike. Nobody knows about our plan and equally nobody will know about it,” he said.

In his capacity as President of Al Nasr Sports Club, Shaikh Hamdan said the club is recovering after the setup of the new board.

“The new board is working in harmony and things are improving. There were many differences among the members of the old board of directors. Even the outgoing coach used to treat players on the basis of like and dislike. I was told that five players were sidelined by the previous coach and they are doing very well after his departure,” he confirmed.

Commenting on the growing discontent of the poor performance of UAE referees, Shaikh Hamdan said he is against recruiting foreign referees, but he would love to see professional or full dedicated referees in the Arabian Gulf League. “They say referees mistakes are part of the game, and for me, dedicated and professional referees would be answerable for their mistakes.

“I’m still wondering why the referee aarded Al Ain unfounded penalty kick in their last week’s clash against Al Ahli?” he concluded.

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