Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jock to reign again?

Sunday is the Listed Thoroughbred version of HH The President’s Cup, kindly sponsored by Hyrda Properties, and 12 have been declared for the 1400m feature on the Abu Dhabi turf.

The weights are headed by the 2006 winner King Jock who was third in last week’s National Day Cup, a race he also won in 2006, over a furlong further.

That was his first start for Tony Manuel and the seven-year-old should again give a good account of himself according to jockey Robbie Burke: “He is a grand old horse and loves it at Abu Dhabi. He has run a great race last week and I am hoping for another big effort.”

He carries a penalty for a Group 2 win in Italy over the summer though which may make it difficult to reverse form with Montpellier, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe, who finished one place ahead of him last week.

Royston Ffrench missed the race last Sunday but returns to ride him and said: “I was in Hong Kong last week but that was a great effort and Ahmad (Ajtebi) nearly stole it. The drop in trip may suit and he should run well.”

Ajtebi rides stable companion Desert Realm, while Dhruba Selvaratnam, who won the race last year with Ans Bach, relies on Yasoodd and Hallhoo with William Buick electing to ride the former.

However, Herman Brown’s Grand Vista, bidding to become the third international winner of the race, looks a massive danger and assistant trainer Terry Fripp said: “He worked well on the course last week and on his best form will certainly be in the shake-up.”

Erwan Charpy won the National Day Cup last week with Emirates Gold and Friday’s Jebel Ali Stakes with Rampallion.

His Munaddam is another sure to go close for the in-form trainer who said: “These conditions should suit him and he has been training well. We have to be hopeful and the horses seem to be in great form.”

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