where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2018-03-12 12:22:32  
Tough Weekend for SA breds in Dubai but China Horse Club breaks through

It was an interesting weekend for South African racing fans who like the international flavour of our horses and our breed.

The Dubai performances of our horses haven’t been up to the early years of the Mike De Kock domination, when the best of the horses we had attended the carnival. The races in Dubai during their season have no doubt improved ten fold and the international succcess and emphasis Godolphin has placed on winning at the carnival has resulted in a lower win percentage for Saf horses, both the bred and trained.

Our best has always been regarded as being competitive in Dubai and in many respects Hong Kong, even in Australia. One of best mares of her time won two Grade 1's in that country. It is certainly a Perfect Promise that we do breed them well here in SA.

However this season in Dubai has been slim pickings with a handful of wins with Janoobi being our flag bearer. The highly rated Al Sahem has been disappointing in Dubai but he seemed to be needing his two efforts to date. Unfortunately there is no room for error in Dubai and one needs to hit the ground running at that level, where even the prize money at Carnival level betters our bigger race purses.

Whisky Baron has some flamboyant and active social media owners but his performances to date haven’t lived up to the hype. His latest was particularly disappointing as a he struggled against the level up that he raced against even though his debut in Dubai was impressive and he was excepted to kick on from that effort. That didn't materialize for his supporters back home. International horse travel is a hard game and the learning curve is steep even when we send our best to compete. The protocols, weather, tracks and transport all play a role and not all horses are equal in accepting the bumps and bruises of this type of exposure. Leaving the topic with a positive spin, we have had lesser lights storm to Dubai success. Kevin Shea's visits to Dubai for Super Saturday remained one of the most unlikely of DUBAI World Cup winner s but for a nose. Lizards Desire surpised all with a runner up finish in that World Cup. If ever Shea remembers a tight finish and the difference between victory and defeat, it would that night in Dubai.

Over the weekend, the flamboyant China Horse Club had a lovely winner with Dagmar, debuting in a listed event and winning well. The Markus Jooste connection got that partnership to buy in South Africa, as they sort to attract high net individuals to the Club. Jooste was believed to be a member of this private invitational only club headed up by the charismatic and entertaining Teo Ah Khing.

The win will hopefully persuade the club that South African horses are in fact competitive to buy even without the Jooste factor, which is now no more. Mike De Kock’s filly looks a nice sprinter in the making and the Yeni ridden Maine Chance bred tracked the lead and sprinted home with ease. She only cost a mere R450 000 at the Cape Premier Sale, by China Horse Club standards, a steal. We were invited an attended their inaugural CECF Festival of races in Inner Mongolia, China a few years back and it was some event. The event highlighted the vision of the club and showed the future plans of breeding and training barns, a city of horses, effectively. China Horse Club is a valuable entity and we need that support to internationalise our breed.

South Africa will likely have two World Cup night runners in the form of Janoobi and Al Sahem. It is unlikely that Whisky Baron will get a run but it still a possibility with his South African form as the criteria. 

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