DESPITE Mubtaahij’s unplaced run in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, trainer Mike de Kock feels his star three-year-old is on course for next year’s $10m Dubai World Cup.

"There were some bloody good horses ahead of him," he said after Mubtaahij finished nine lengths behind the winning favourite, American Pharoah.

Mubtaahij was handily placed on the rails for much of the race, but may have been affected by the kickback on the Churchill Downs sand course.

The UAE Derby winner will now be shipped to the UK before moving to Dubai with the World Cup as his principal objective.

Although there has not been a Triple Crown winner in America since Affirmed in 1978, pundits were predicting that trainer Bob Baffert’s colt could end the drought this year.

UK bookmakers Ladbrokes quote American Pharoah at 4-5 to win The Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown in a fortnight’s time, and 4-1 to be the Triple Crown winner.

Trainer Bob Baffert was winner of the Kentucky Derby for the fourth time. "We were ready to rumble — I kept reading about how good the horse is and I kept thinking I just hope they’re right," he said.

It was a third Kentucky Derby triumph for jockey Victor Espinoza. He told reporters after the race: "I feel like the luckiest Mexican on Earth. He’s been a special horse since the first day I rode him."

On the home front, the three-year-old Act Of War notched the seventh win of his career when capturing Sunday’s Tekkie Town Winter Guineas at Kenilworth. Derek Brugman, racing manager for winning owner Markus Jooste, said that the Dynasty colt might contest the Rising Sun Challenge at Greyville provided he did not draw badly.

Act Of War was ridden by Anton Marcus who also won the two feature winners at Greyville — the Drill Hall Stakes on Ice Machine and the KRA Guineas on The Conglomerate.

Punters will be delighted that Marcus makes the trip to the Vaal on Tuesday where he has three mounts on the eight-race card.

The main reason for the former champion’s visit to the Highveld is to partner Joe Soma’s three-year-old, Graduation Day, in the sixth race. He partnered the Trippi gelding to a facile 11 lengths win at Turffontein last month.

Although Graduation Day faces a tougher assignment this time, he can beat Barbel Run and Will Pays.

Marcus has ridden many winners for trainer Geoff Woodruff and he teams up with the stable’s debutant, Elusive Seven, in the second race. A R250,000 buy as a yearling, the youngster is a son of Seventh Rock out of a four-time winner.

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