THE Emirates Racing Media team in Dubai has put together trainer comments on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup, the richest race meeting in the world, including some track notes from Monday, 26 March.
Group 1 US$10 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline
Eishin Flash – Three of the seven “Team Japan” horses aim at the Group1 US$10 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline. Eishin Flash, who was second on his last outing in the Grand Prix Arima Kinen 2011 behind Triple Crown winner Orfevre, did routine work for 1 ½ laps on the all-weather.
The work rider Kazuo Fujiwara commented, “It was all down to the horse’s connections, everything up to now has been done well, and the travel was smooth as well. He is in a good form.”
Game on Dude – Winner of the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap, breezed 800m Monday morning at Meydan Racecourse in preparation for the US$10,000,000 Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline on Saturday.
The refined bay covered the all-weather surface in 48.51 seconds. His stablemate, The Factor (a Dubai Golden Shaheen contender), worked 600m in 36.80 soon after. Former assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, Tim Yakteen, oversaw the Monday training.
“Both of them are ready,” Yaktten said. “Bob wanted them to get a feel and stretch their legs a bit. All thumbs up.”
Exercise rider George Alvarez was aboard both Baffert horses Monday morning. Jockey Chantal Sutherland, who has won three graded stakes aboard the gelded son of Awesome Again, is scheduled to ride on Saturday.
Master of Hounds – With nine Dubai World Cup meeting winners to his credit, South African Mike De Kock is by far the most successful international trainer on the world’s richest race night and only Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor has trained more on the card (29).
As always, De Kock will be well represented on Saturday and will have a runner in all of the Thoroughbred contests except for the Dubai Golden Shaheen.
He has yet to win the Group 1 US$10million Dubai World Cup, though has saddled both Asiatic Boy and Lizard’s Desire to finish second and this year he relies on Master Of Hounds, a winner on Super Saturday in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta (1800m turf).
Second in last year’s UAE Derby for Aidan O’Brien, Master Of Hounds filled the same berth behind stable companion Musir in Maktoum Challenge I and was then third in both Maktoum Challenge II and the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort.
His Super Saturday victory was only the second of his career and de Kock said: “The Dubai World Cup was the target when we bought him and his first run in the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge was very pleasing. His next two runs were ok and that was a good win last time. With Bold Silvano disappointing on Super Saturday Master Of Hounds is the obvious one to take his place in the big race. He has come out of Super Saturday well and should be capable of a good run in what looks an open renewal.”
Royal Delta – Besilu Stables’ elegant American champion three-year-old filly of 2011 continued what has been a smooth and powerful initial three days of training over Meydan’s all-weather track with an easy gallop over approximately 2,000m (about 1 ¼ miles) on Monday.
Leana Willaford, an assistant to trainer Bill Mott, was in the saddle and said she was very pleased with Royal Delta’s efforts. She was very happy,” Willaford reported. “She gets over this track very well – she just cruises over it.”
Unlike many American horses who tend to be pure dirt specialists, Royal Delta has shown she can be versatile by winning a race on the all-weather Polytrack surface at Keeneland Racecourse last year.
Mott, who is famous in Dubai racing as the trainer of inaugural Dubai World Cup winner Cigar, is due to arrive on Tuesday to oversee Royal Delta’s final preparations to make history in the Dubai World Cup. A daughter of Empire Maker bred by the late Saudi Prince Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments, Royal Delta is bidding to become the first filly or mare to win the world’s richest race.
Smart Falcon – The seven-year-old son of Gold Allure worked at the trotting ring and cantered for one lap on all-weather track. On the second lap, he was trotting again to get familiarized with the finishing line and grand stand.
The exercise rider Kenta Kotani commented, “He was a little tense and was not relaxed when he worked on the main track yesterday, but he has been much improved mentally today. He eats up well and keeps his good condition.”
So You Think – The powerful contingent from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien trainees arrived safely at Meydan on Monday morning from Ireland. The O’Brien horses were all reported to have travelled well and it is anticipated that they will appear on the track on Wednesday morning.
Trancend – The 2011 Dubai World Cup runner-up walked around the stable area and did not come out at the main track this morning.
Keita Tanaka, Racing Manager and interpreter, commented, “He galloped yesterday, but he was very fresh this morning, which means his condition is good.”
Group 1 US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by Longines
Bold Silvano / Mahbooba – Bold Silvano had long been considered a genuine Dubai World Cup hopeful but two below par efforts on the all-weather have forced connections to switch him back to grass and he will take his chance over 2410m in US$5 million Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by Longines.
Trainer Mike De Kock explained: “We had really thought he was our Dubai World Cup horse but he has not really fired having returned from injury. His Super Saturday run in the All Maktoum Challenge Round III was a big disappointment but he managed to get his tongue over the bit, swallowed some all-weather and was coughing after the race. He is probably better on turf and stays well so the Dubai Sheema Classic looks the right race for him.”
St Nicholas Abbey/Treasure Beach – The powerful contingent from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien trainees arrived safely at Meydan on Monday morning from Ireland. The O’Brien horses were all reported to have travelled well and it is anticipated that they will appear on the track on Wednesday morning.
Group 1 US$5 million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free
Ambitious Dragon – Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon enjoyed a gentle Monday workout on the all-weather track under Bev Millard, wife of trainer Tony, after quicker hit-out on Sunday morning.
“I just arrived this morning and I was very happy with what I saw. The horse is in great form and has settled in nicely,” trainer Millard said.
“He has a great temperament and he has brought that with him. He had a barrier trial at Sha Tin last week and he went very well in that so I can’t get him any fitter between now and the race.”
Await the Dawn – The powerful contingent from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien trainees arrived safely at Meydan on Monday morning from Ireland. The O’Brien horses were all reported to have travelled well and it is anticipated that they will appear on the track on Wednesday morning.
California Memory – Victorious in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup last December, also remained in the quarantine area as per the instructions of trainer Tony Cruz who reported on the phone from Hong Kong: “My team says that he has travelled well. He is a very experienced horse in that sense and he will do some fast work later in the week when I am present to see it.”
Dark Shadow – The winner of the Group 2 Mainichi Okan at 1,800m, Dark Shadow did a trotting for a lap before he cantered easily on the all-weather track, and then he went to the receiving barn, saddling barn and paddock for schooling for the raceday.
Dubawi Gold – The four-year-old bay colt never struck a blow in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta earlier this month at Meydan when tenth of 14 runners, but the slow pace counted against this habitual late closer.
He covered 1,800 metres on the main track Monday under jockey Pat Dobbs, who was aboard for the first time since the colt arrived in Dubai.
“It was an easy gallop for him,” Dobbs said. “He quickened up towards the end and he feels good. It’s hard to judge when horses work on their own but he is moving well, which is the main thing.”
Musir/Mutahadee – Trainer Mike DeKock has a good record in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free having won it with Ipi Tombe in 2003 and dead-heater Right Approach in 2004 and looks to hold strong claims again this year with both Musir and Mutahadee in the field.
De Kock said: “Musir was another one we had a few options for with the Godolphin Mile a strong consideration but I have always maintained he is a turf horse so we are running him here.
“Mutahadee has been a revelation throughout the Dubai World Cup Carnival and is a really exciting, but fragile, horse. With more luck on Super Saturday he would have gone very close and hopefully there will be plenty of pace on this week to help him.”
Presvis – Trainer Luca Cumani was on hand to supervise Presvis’s work on the all-weather track ahead of his defence of his crown on Saturday.
“There are five days until the race and he is on course for his run,” Cumani said. “His prep races haven’t been run to suit so hopefully he will get the pace he needs on Saturday and the gaps will come at the right time down the straight.”
Wigmore Hall – The 2011 Dubai Duty Free third placegetter has been out in Dubai since February 29 and prepped for his race by running sixth in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta – a race he had won 12 months earlier.
“He has been out here a while and needed the run last time out,” said his work rider Gillian Dolman. “He was carrying a bit more condition and was heavier going in to the Jebel Hatta but we have seen big improvement in him since then and he needed the run to get here.”
Xtension – Winner of the Group 1 Champions Mile in Hong Kong last year, arrived in Dubai on Saturday morning and was confined to quarantine area under the supervision of trainer John Moore’s son, George.
“He is eating up well and looked bright and happy in the trotting ring here this morning. His jockey Jeff Lloyd is on the way over here now and it looks as if he will be on him on Tuesday for a workout,” said Moore Jr.
Group 1 US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News
Giant Ryan – As with all of the American horses, Giant Ryan shipped to Dubai last week and has settled in nicely, according to his owner Shivananda Parbhoo.
“He travelled really good,” said Parbhoo via phone from Florida. “He came out of the plane and the van ride feeling good. They walked him for three days and took him to the track for the first time on Saturday.
“He jogged on the (all-weather) and he seemed to like it,” Parbhoo said of the 6-year-son of Freud, who will be making his synthetic track debut on Saturday. He was schooled in the paddock on Sunday.
Giant Ryan galloped one circuit of the track and jogged another circuit. Trainer Biznath Parboo, the owner’s father, indicated that Giant Ryan would train the same on Tuesday morning and will have a “slight work with the jockey (Willie Martinez)” on board Wednesday.
Hitchens – Trainer David Barron will arrive in Dubai later this week ahead of Hitchens’ fourth run of the year at Meydan. The seven-year-old has been in good form at the Carnival – winning once (Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint) and finishing second on another two occasions.
“He has taken well to it out here and arrived back on January 7th,” said his work rider Neil Brown. “He is a good horse to take travelling and has improved while he has been here. He likes the all-weather surface and the sun on his back. He just cantered around the track this morning and will stretch his legs on Thursday.”
Lucky Nine – Winner of the Group 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint in December, Lucky Nine seeks to further enhance his reputation as one of the world’s best sprinters and Dale Bussey, senior work rider to trainer Caspar Fownes, described the initial stages of the Dubawi gelding’s sojourn in Dubai as “all going to plan.”
“I was with him when he travelled to Japan last September (where he was second and fifth in a Group 2 and Group 1 respectively) and he seems a more settled and more mature horse now. All the outward signs are that things are well with him and Caspar will be here tomorrow to oversee his preparation until racenight,” Bussey said.
The Factor – Trainer Bob Baffert, who finished second with Euroears in the 2011 Dubai Golden Shaheen, will be reaching for the winner’s share of US$2,000,000 this year with The Factor.
The gray son of War Front has won 6 of 10 starts, including both the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes in his last two races at Santa Anita Park.
Tim Yakteen, former assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, was overseeing the Baffert contingent Monday morning at Meydan. notable trainer himself, Yakteen watched as The Factor worked 600 metres minutes after his stable mate, Game on Dude, breezed 800 metres. Yakteen caught The Factor in 48.51 seconds.
“Both of them are ready,” said Yakteen. “Bob wanted them to get a feel and stretch their legs a bit. All thumbs up.”
Exercise rider George Alvarez was aboard both Baffert horses and said: “The Factor handled the track great.”
Group 2 US$2 million UAE Derby, sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group
Balada Sale – Balada Sale discovered the track for the first time Monday morning and her regular work rider said: “We just let her stretch her legs. So we just went for a slow canter. Everything is good.”
Daddy Long Legs / Wrote – The powerful contingent from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien trainees arrived safely at Meydan on Monday morning from Ireland. The O’Brien horses were all reported to have travelled well and it is anticipated that they will appear on the track on Wednesday morning.
Genten – Two horses from Yoshito Yahagi’s stable, Makani Bisty for the G3 US $1 million Dubai Gold Cup, sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, and Genten, running for the G2 US$2 million UAE Derby, sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, did a routine work on the all-weather track.
The trainer Yoshito Yahagi, who flew into Dubai Monday morning and saw his horses working, commented, “I felt very relieved to see their good conditions. I think it is hard for horses to keep the best condition when they travel abroad, but they handled the long flight well and have not lost any weight. They are maintaining the same good form at home.”
Lucky Chappy – Team Valor International ‘s Lucky Chappy, who already has collected a handful of stamps in his passport even though he is not yet three years old by his actual birthdate, galloped on Monday with some very prestigious company.
Walking on to Meydan’s all-weather track with American champion filly Royal Delta, Lucky Chappy stayed close to her for his entire exercise session. With Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion in the irons, Lucky Chappy galloped behind the statuesque filly for approximately 2,000m (about 1 ¼ miles) and was more relaxed than he had been on Sunday, when Clapham asked an outrider to accompany the High Chaparral colt.
“He is better if he has a little company, so it worked out nicely,” said Clapham, who added that Lucky Chappy and Royal Delta have forged something of an equine friendship during their stay in Dubai World Cup Quarantine Barn 3.
Clapham and Leona Willaford, assistant to Royal Delta’s trainer Bill Mott, also are friends, so they arranged the joint work session and may repeat the duet on Tuesday.
Bred in Ireland, Lucky Chappy won a stakes in Italy last July before being sent to the United States from France. In four subsequent starts, he has finished second twice, third once and fourth once, all in stakes, including a closing fourth in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, won by UAE Derby rival Wrote.
Most recently, Lucky Chappy finished second by a nose in the Group 3 El Camino Real Derby on February 18 at Golden Gate Fields in northern California, which has the same type of all-weather surface as does Meydan. So far, the colt seems to relish the Meydan track.
“He’s getting over this track really easily,” Clapham said. “He’s moving great on this surface.”
Mickdaam – Trainer Mike De Kock’s UAE Derby record is phenomenal – he has saddled the winner on no less than five occasions and Mickdaam should go close to making it six. Winner of the Listed Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday over the same course and distance, the three-year-old has improved throughout the year and de Kock hopes is still on an upward curve.
He said: “Considering he had only won a maiden when he arrived and was rated in the 80s he has had a great season and has improved from day one. We knew the step up in trip for the Al Bastakiya would suit him and he did it well. It would be nice to think there is more improvement to come and, in reality, he needs to raise his game again as some of his rivals have been contesting good Group races throughout their careers.”
Yang Tse Kiang –Trained by Richard Chotard, the three-year-old gelding came onto the Meydan track for the first time Monday morning. He did a slow canter and his regular work rider confirmed: “This was his first time out and we just went round once in a slow canter. We are very happy with him, all is good.”
Group 3 US$1 million Dubai Gold Cup, sponsored by Al Tayer Motors
Irish Flame/Zanzamar – Trainer Mike De Kock saddles both Irish Flame and Zanzamar and said: “Irish Flame is definitely better with cut in the ground but this is probably his trip now, while Zanzamar could have run in the Dubai Sheema Classic or here. He is solid enough and will hopefully stay.”
Kasbah Bliss – The ten-year-old gelding completed his last piece of fast work ahead of the Group 3 US $1 million Dubai Gold Cup, sponsored by Al Tayer Motors when he worked over the main track.
“It was important for the horse to do something this morning and he did what we wanted,” trainer Francois Doumen said. “He went progressively faster down the back straight, breezed through the bend and showed good acceleration in the straight to finish on the bit. The horse hadn’t run for five months when he ran here (in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy on March 1st). We tried to find a balance between making him work and keeping him fresh, and he may have been short of preparation. As it happened, he had no chance tactically. The pace was very slow and the jockey had to ask for a big blow at the wrong time. We hope there is a good pace in Saturday.”
Makani Bisty – Trainer Yoshito Yahagi, who flew into Dubai Monday morning and saw his 2 contenders working, commented, “I felt very relief to see their good conditions. I think it is hard for horses to keep the best condition when they travel abroad, but they handled the long flight well and have not lost any weight. They are maintaining the same good form at home.” Yahagi also has Genten in the Group 2 UAE Derby.
Group 1 US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Emirates NBD
A Shin Virgo – The only female on the Japan team, A Shin Virgo, is take on the Group 1 $1 million Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Emirates NBD, cantered with her stablemate Smart Falcon on the all-weather track, following getting familiarized with the starting gate.
The work rider Kazuki Takada commented, “There was no hitch with the starting gate. She looked settled in the gate and did not have any problem. She’s already regained the weight she’s lost coming here and her condition is getting better each day.”
Eagle Regiment – A Group 1 winner down the 1,000m Sha Tin straight in January, was also out on the all-weather on Monday for a canter under assistant trainer Raymond Tsui who gave the thumbs up after the exercise.
“The work was good and the horse is in nice shape,” said trainer Manfred Man’s deputy.
Invincible Ash – Winner of the Meydan Sprint on Super Saturday, was partnered in her work on the all-weather surface by her regular rider Damien Melia with James Heavey, on hand to assist trainer Mick Halford, content with the workout.
“She has been in Dubai since December and she thrives here. The more sun you can get on her back and the more racing you can get into her, the better she is,” Heavey said of the seven-year-old mare facing her seventh run this Carnival.
“She has come out of her Super Saturday win very well and we are looking forward to the big night. She was beaten just three short-heads when fourth in this race last year and I’d say she’s going better now.”
Joy and Fun – Winner of this race in 2010, is back to reclaim his title in the best form of his career despite being at the relatively advanced age of eight for a sprinter.
The Hong Kong-based warhorse was kept ticking over on the large all-weather track under work rider William Chu with Martin Cruz, son of trainer Derek, watching.
Cruz Sr. arrived in Dubai on Monday morning and will take over trackwork duties himself on Tuesday.
“The horse knows his way around here Meydan. He loves it here. We all have really fond memories of winning here two years ago and I don’t see why he can’t run an another big race on Saturday night,” remarked Cruz Jr.
Margot Did – After completing a routine circuit of the main track, Margot Did was full of beans under her regular rider, Bianca Hopkins, who has accompanied the Group 1 winner to Dubai.
The four-year-old filly’s demeanour pleased Hopkins, who said: “She was a bit quiet before she ran here (she was 8th in the Meydan Sprint on March 10) and that seems to have woken her up. She had an easy canter today and feels well. She’ll do a bit more when she breezes on Wednesday.”
Nocturnal Affair – Trained by David Marnane and who completed an Irish 1-2-3 in the Meydan Sprint, also began Dubai World Cup week with a light workout on the all-weather under work rider Emma Carroll.
“He’s in great form and he looks a picture, doesn’t he? He was probably a bit unlucky in the race a few weeks ago but he is improving and with a bit more luck in running he’ll be thereabouts on Saturday,” said the work rider.
Regally Ready – Vinery Stable’s Regally Ready galloped 1,600m under the watchful eyes of Devron Leingang and Mandy Seim. Leingang and Seim are the Toronto-based assistants to trainer Steve Asmussen who have been working for the Eclipse Award-winning trainer for approximately two years.
“Regally Ready galloped great,” said Leingang. “He travelled well and is settling in well. He’s an easy-going horse.”
Regally Ready has won 9 of 19 starts and earned more than US$1.2 million.
Sole Power – Lobbed around the all-weather track under work rider David Mason who said trainer Eddie Lynam was en route to add the finishing touches to the Kyllachy gelding’s training.
Sole Power was touched off on the line by Invincible Ash in the Meydan Sprint on March 10 but Mason said the five-year-old had come out of the race well.
“He always needs a run to get back to his best after a break and that effort after a few months off was very good for him. Hopefully he can improve a little on that. We think he can,” Mason commented.
War Artist – will be having his second start for the yard in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, a race in which he was second last year. He ran well in the prep on Super Saturday (he placed seventh) and trainer Mike DeKock said: “He really rather surprised me the other day and ran a good race. Luck in running is going to be key with 16 runners charging up that straight but I am very pleased with him and he can run well definitely with conditions to suit him.”
Headline photo by Andrew Watkins.