ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s horse Kabirkhan made a dream start in its international horseracing career by winning twice at the Al Maktoum Challenge tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Jan. 12 and Jan. 26, which earned it a spot at the Dubai World Cup, one of the biggest events in horse racing.
Kabirkhan became the highlight of the Meydan Racecourse, defying expectations with unexpected victories. Despite being a newcomer to the scene, its achievement marked a significant milestone as the first Kazakh horse to earn a spot at the prestigious Dubai World Cup.
The excitement of owner Tlek Mukanbetkaliyev is evident.
“My heart couldn’t contain my joy. I was so excited and raised the Kazakh flag along with my friends. It can be said that the whole of Kazakhstan congratulated, they [horse breeders] all called from far and wide to congratulate,” said Mukanbetkaliyev in his YouTube interview with the Kazakhstan’s Association of National Sports.
Kabirkhan is a descendant of the famous California Chrom. His father-stallion is a Dubai 2016 champion and is a multiple Kentucky Derby winner with a $14 million racing career.
Kabirkhan made its debut at Almaty hippodrome in Kazakhstan in 2022, participating in three races. When Kabirkhan unexpectedly came up for sale after winning in all three races in Kazakhstan, it was an opportunity Mukanbetkaliyev could not resist.
“Horses are chosen based on their breed. I got him when he was two years old. At the age of two, he took part in three races at the Almaty hippodrome and three times he came first before he was offered to me,” said Mukanbetkaliyev.
According to Mukanbetkaliyev, growing a winning horse is not a one-man’s job but involves many great people.
“It is the strength of all. First, you need to have a good horse, then a good trainer, then a jockey. Then you have to have a dream and ask God. If all of those agree, everything will be fine,” said Mukanbetkaliyev.
Mukanbetkaliyev has five valuable young bloodstock that are waiting to enter the races, including Kabirkhan’s younger brother.
“Now I have five horses. They are all in Russia under Arslangirey Shavuyev’s [training]. There are three-year-old horses that will be raced next year. Kabirkhan also has a younger brother from his mother’s side. I have hopes for all five horses. I believe in all of them. Every horse owner believes in his horses,” said Mukanbetkaliyev.
He said his passion for horse ownership and breeding spread from his childhood.
“I loved horses since childhood. One of my friends gifted me a horse and it all started from there. Then I bought a horse from Europe, then from a U.S. auction. It is a fortune, so to speak. Kabirkhan is a fortune,” said Mukanbetkaliyev.
Now Kabirkhan will take his chances in the Dubai World Cup, one of the most anticipated events on the horse racing calendar around the world.
The race, which begins on March 30, will attract leading owners, trainers and best racehorses from around the world for a top prize of $12 million Dubai World Cup. The spotlight will undoubtedly be on Kabirkhan as well.
Maxim Senatorov, editor-in-chief and commentator on Konny Mir (Horse World) TV channel, explained why Kabirkhan’s win is such a phenomenon.
“It [Dubai World Cup] is an event that attracts a lot of people and the fact that Kabirkhan has already earned the right to participate in these races is certainly a great achievement,” said Senatorov in an interview on Schrodinger’s Sport Youtube channel.
“For years, many horse owners try to win and get into the Dubai World Cup so that their horses could at least participate there. While Kabirkhan, who was a two-year-old in Kazakhstan and then spent one whole season in Russia, performed magnificently and got there on the first attempt,” he added.