Cape breds strike in Dubai
There was double joy for South Africa in Dubai on Thursday evening. The Cape bred pair of Star Empire and Royal Ridge scored a double for champion trainer Mike de Kock at Meydan.
Star Empire, who had previously won in Dubai back in 2011, was making just his second start after a two year layoff. Competing in a 2810m handicap over Meydan’s turf track, Star Empire won by a neck – defeating a field which included India’s champion filly In the Spotlight (a winner of six classics in her homeland).
A former Listed winner in South Africa, Star Empire, owned by Mohammed Khaleel Ahmed, has now won six times, and rates as one of the great bargain buys in recent years.
He cost just R70 000 at the 2008 Grand West Yearling Sale, and, to date, has earned over R2 400 000 in prize money.
By former champion 2yo Second Empire, Star Empire is out of the Maroof mare Lady Maroof, and is a half-brother to recent Met runner Fabiani.
Well done to successful breeders Messrs Muller, Ratner and Salzman.
Royal Ridge, who had been second last time out, held on in a thrilling three way finish to land his first Dubai success. He scored by a head in a 1600 metre handicap, after two previous Dubai outings.
Unfortunately this race saw Mike de Kock’s Jet Legend suffer a fatal breakdown. Condolences to all the connections of this horse, it is a truly awful thing to happen.
A smart performer at two, Thursday’s winner Royal Ridge has now scored four times for owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Bred by Frank Sharp, Royal Ridge is another feather in the cap of Wilgerbosdrift’s resident stallion Tiger Ridge, who has been enjoying a fantastic season.
Tiger Ridge’s other high-class performers this season include Gr1 Sansui Summer Cup hero Wagner, and he is represented by a number of runners in Saturday’s feature races, including the outstanding filly Cherry On The Top.
Like recent J&B Met winner, Martial Eagle, Royal Ridge is out of a daughter of the now retired stallion, Jallad.
His dam, Princess Fabgerge, is also the dam of Gr3 Algoa Cup winner, Forest of Dean.
Hopefully both horses can go on to bigger and better things!