03/04/2014 2:58PM

Meydan: De Kock looks for big day Saturday in Dubai World Cup preps

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Huge fields – if not horses especially well known in North America – abound on the so-called Super Saturday card March 8 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The eight-race card, drawn Tuesday, includes preps for all the major races on the March 29 Dubai World Cup program and is headlined by the Group 1, $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, the final local stepping-stone to the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

The Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, contested at about 1 1/4 miles on Meydan’s Tapeta main track, rematches the top three finishers from the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2: Prince Bishop, African Story, and Zambucca. Also in the 14-horse field are Side Glance, who was seventh in the 2013 Dubai World Cup, and world traveler Joshua Tree, who last raced at Meydan in 2012.

Undefeated South African import Vercingetorix heads a field of 14 entered in the Group 1, $300,000 Jebel Hatta, a prep for the Dubai Duty Free, and could be part of a big night for trainer Mike de Kock. De Kock has three other runners in the Jebel Hatta as well as prominent former South Africans for the Mahab Al Shimaal (Soft Falling Rain), a prep for the Golden Shaheen, and the Meydan Sprint (Shea Shea), a prep for the Al Quoz Sprint.

Variety Club, a South African champion trained by Joey Ramsden, is the deserving favorite in the Burj Nahaar, the local prep for the Godolphin Mile.

Post time for the first of the card’s Thoroughbred races is 9:10 a.m. Eastern.

jttf More than 1 year ago
the super saturday for non lasix users is only three weeks before the world cup. america needs five weeks. why did we change ? i guess we didnt like 70 and 80s racing.
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
We do have the Arkansas Derby, a derby prep 3 weeks prior. In the past 4 years it had produced a winner and a place horse. Not bad at all.
jttf More than 1 year ago
two weeks later, these two horses had career ending injuries. thanks to lasix.
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
Correction: a winner and two place horses in the past 4 years.
jttf More than 1 year ago
bodemeister, super saver were retired after their next start in the preakness. nehro gets ankle chips in his next start, takes a long layoff and is never the same. lasix and the triple crown are a deadly combo for our best three year olds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was about to jump all over your ...what I thought was a stupid comment but I thought about it. Lasix is designed to allow a horse to breathe the best he can and have a horse perform at his ultimate best. That being true then maybe some of these horses might over extend themselves in a short period of time. Without lasix their lungs would not allow them to physically go above and beyond what their spindly legs are meant for. I do see your point. I have always thought that the timing of the Triple Crown races is ridiculous especially the Preakness (2 weeks) then off to the Belmont at 1.5 miles (3 weeks) I have always thought that in this modern day and era that 3 year olds should not be allowed to race more than once in a 28 day span