01/31/2013 5:25PM

Dubai: The Apache finds room to win Al Rashidiya Stakes

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The Apache capped Mike de Kock’s three-win night at Meydan in Dubai with a three-quarter-length victory in the Group 2, $200,000 Al Rashidiya Stakes.

The Apache, a 6-year-old on Southern Hemisphere time, was making his first start outside his native South Africa while racing for the first time in more than a year, but de Kock had him ready for the Al Rashidiya at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) on turf. Tracking pacesetting Do It All, The Apache, under Christophe Soumillon, found room between horses in midstretch and outkicked City Style, who had made the lead with an outside rally but couldn’t quite quicken with the winner.

“He was working very well in the morning,” Soumillon said. “He’s not a very big horse, so he doesn’t need that much. He was working so well at home, we were very confident.”

Sharestan, heavily favored in U.S. betting after a strong victory in the Al Rashidiya prep race, finished third after getting into a world of trouble that cost him any chance at victory. Racing along the rail, Sharestan got shuffled back midway around the far turn and was buried behind a forest of horses for most of the homestretch.

De Kock won the night’s first race, a turf handicap, with Mushreq, and captured a main-track seven-furlong handicap race later on the card with Rerouted

“The horses have taken time to come right,” de Kock said. “You’ve got to get them fit.”

De Kock described The Apache as being “nowhere near peak fitness,” and said he would improve off Thursday’s performance. That bodes well for The Apache’s chances in more important Dubai World Cup Carnival races in coming weeks and also speaks to the anticipation surrounding the intended Dubai debut Feb. 14 of the de Kock-trained mare Igugu: An in-form The Apache faced Igugu in his final South African start and was beaten two lengths.