14 February 2015

Journeyman Gives Mike de Kock Birthday Winner on Meydans Saturday Card

Journeyman provided South African Mike De Kock a last-minute birthday winner in the featured 1600m Xpress turf handicap at Meydan Racecourse’s domestic fixture on Saturday afternoon.

Ridden by Johnny Geroudis, the winner was settled in midfield but could be seen travelling strongly as the runners turned for home before being switched wide by his jockey.

The pair made relentless progress down the centre of the track, leading in the dying strides to deny Washaar.

“He ran really well here when second two weeks ago,” said Geroudis. “That was over a bit further but this 1600m probably suits him better. We were hopeful coming into the race and I was pretty confident I was going to get there in the final 100m.

“It is great to ride Mike a winner on his birthday.”

Mashaaref, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and ridden by the owner’s retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, was the reasonably comfortable winner of the 1200m turf handicap.

Never far off the pace set by Seachantach, the pair hit the front about 300m from home and always looked to be holding the challenge of runner-up Roi De Vitesse.

“He ran well over 1400m at Abu Dhabi last time in a really competitive race,” said Hanagan. “He has relished this drop to 1200m and the straight track. Once we hit the front I was pretty happy we would not get caught.

“He is so versatile regarding both trip and surface as he has won over 1600m on the Jebel Ali dirt and been placed over further.”

The meeting ended with a 2000m handicap on the dirt with Hanagan completing a double for himself and the owner on Etijaah, trained by Doug Watson.

Wayne Smith was in the money for the opening 1400m dirt maiden, a race in which very few of the 14 runners ever threatened to win. General Marshall set out to make all with Hanagan riding for Mike De Kock, but they were always being stalked by Wayne Smith and Sullivan Street.

Smith drove his mount, trained by Ismail Mohammed, to the front 400m out and the pair only just held on from the fast-finishing Sky Jockey.

“He deserved a win after some big efforts in defeat,” said Smith. “The plan was always to be prominent and I was happy tracking the leader. He then picked up well when I asked him but was just idling a bit at the end.

“Now he has won, hopefully he can build on this.”

Satish Seemar and stable jockey, Richard Mullen, were out of luck with Sky Jockey in that race but the roles were reversed in the following 1600m Conditions race on the dirt with Mullen and Dubai Iconic just denying Smith on the Mohammed-trained Conquerant.

Runner-up over 1200m two weeks ago, on what was his first start since March 2013, he was tiring at the end but held on gamely.

“It is a great result for everyone involved with the horse,” said Mullen. “Everyone has had to be very patient with him and it is a great team effort. He has plenty of pace so we could go back to 1400m with him perhaps.”

Trainer and jockey went on to complete a double when Year Of Glory recorded a second consecutive win when landing a 1400m handicap on the dirt. Having finally opened his account at the tenth attempt four weeks ago, when beating Sullivan Street in a 1200m maiden, he doubled his tally in good style.

Another winner ridden prominently, he quickened to the front 300m from home, skipping clear of Alareef, and never looked likely to be caught.

“The win last time did his confidence a lot of good,” said Mullen. “The horse he beat won the opener today which was a good sign and he has won nicely.”