Following his gutsy second place finish to California Chrome at the 2016 Dubai World Cup, Mubtaahij has come to the USA in order to compete. The four-year old colt out of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s stables is a graded stakes winner of Irish breed, who has been trained by Michael De Kock. No immediate plans for Mubtaahij have been outlined.
Kiaran McLaughlin will take over training duties for Mubtaahij now that the horse is in New York, adding another talent to his loaded stable. Already overseeing Mohaymen, who will run as the favorite in this weekend’s Florida Derby, McLaughlin was in Dubai with Watershed, Frosted, Marking and Confrontation. Frosted placed fifth at the Dubai World Cup.
It’s worth noting that De Kock was Al Maktoum’s preference for Mubtaahij’s second run in the states. “I was asked to take Mubtaahij to the U.S., but as it is I am stretched between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres and I don’t want to put my assistants under too much pressure, as U.S. racing and training is highly scrutinized by the media,” de Kock said in an interview with the Sporting Post. “It would be unfair to subject them to that pressure.”
Mubtaahij is 4-2-0 in 12 races during his career. He placed first at a Meydan maiden, a Meydan conditions and claimed his first stakes races at the Al Bastakyia and the UAE Derby in back-to-back efforts. His 2016 season has been a bit disappointing with a 5th place finish at the Firebreak Stakes and a 4th place take at the Al Maktoum Challenge Round Three. Those races were won by Confrontation and Special Fighter respectively.
This is the second trip to North American for Mubtaahij, who placed fourth at last year’s Belmont Stakes and eighth at the Kentucky Derby.
Along with Mubtaahij, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum will send Vale Dori to Bob Baffert with future plans to breed with Tapit. Vale Dori is a three-year old filly who won the Gran Premio Jorge de Atucha in 2015 before finishing 2nd at the UAE Oaks and 4th at the UAE Derby.
Both will compete this year as McLaughlin and Baffert oversee strategies for the remainder of their 2016 campaigns.