Mike de Kock put the seal on a banner night of racing when his Bold Silvano recorded an effortless 1 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-III) Feb. 3 at Meydan Racecourse. The 9 1/2-furlong contest was the highlight of stakes-packed program on the fourth night of the 2011 Dubai Carnival.
The South African-based trainer and his principal client, Sheik Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, teamed up to win four races on the Thursday night card. Not only were they successful in the feature, but their runners also captured the listed UAE 1000 Guineas Sponsored by Etisalat in addition to two handicap races.
Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, Bold Silvano broke a bit slowly under Christophe Soumillon but quickly moved up the inside rail to join Spring Of Fame and Trois Rois on the lead. Going into the clubhouse turn, the 5-year-old son of Silvano held a slight advantage over Spring Of Fame, as Trois Rois was stuck going three-wide.
Bold Silvano set a steady pace as he continued to lead the way down the backstretch. Frankie Dettori kept Spring Of Fame just off his flank in second, as My Indy and Trois Rois ran in tandem just behind the front pair. They were followed by Al Shemali and Crowded House, as Interaction and Gitano Hernando stalked from the back of the pack.
As the field entered the far turn, Spring Of Fame took a brief lead, edging ahead of his rival by three-quarters of a length. His lead was short-lived though, as Bold Silvano easily glided back to the front by the time they hit the top of the stretch.
Bold Silvano began to pull away from the field through the stretch, winning easily while being geared down by Soumillon. Spring Of Fame had to settle for second, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of Interaction. Al Shemali was a nose further back in fourth.
Gitano Hernando and Crowded House were never factors, and finished fifth and seventh, respectively. The final time for the contest run over the Tapeta main track was 1:57.71.
A delighted Mike de Kock told reporters after the race: “This was the plan for his comeback but I did not expect him to win that well. The World Cup is his target and he was probably 85% tonight, but Christophe gave him a great ride.”
Bred in South Africa by Ascot Stud Pty., Bold Silvano is out of Bold Saffron, by Al Mufti.