$12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) sponsored by Emirates Airline
Audible—See subsequent Features release.
Axelrod, Capezzano, Gronkowski—All three Salem bin Ghadayer trainees are preparing off site and will all likely breeze on Tuesday morning.
Dolkong—See subsequent Features release.
Gunnevera—Trainer Antonio Sano is currently in Miami overseeing his home team, so Gunnevera’s preparation for Saturday’s $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline is being monitored by his two sons, Alex and Maurizio. The chestnut had a gentle morning on the dirt track.
“He arrived on Thursday last week with all the American horses, he travelled well and hopefully it stays that way,” Alex Sano said. “Today he went half a lap jogging the opposite way and then he did a lap and a half of slow gallop. He did all his strong work in the U.S. He did his last breeze last Monday (and) it was very good. My father will be here on Wednesday to see him, but the horse is just taking it easy this week.”
K T Brave—K T Brave was out early this morning, where he cantered one lap around the Meydan dirt track under an exercise rider from Ujitawara Yushun Stable, Hiroya Uwatoko.
“He shipped well and arrived in good shape,” said Keita Tanaka, the agent for owner Kazuyoshi Takimoto.
The 6-year-old son of Admire Max will be making his first international start this Saturday. Joao Moreira will be in the irons.
New Trails—Ahmad bin Harmash is approaching the biggest assignment of his training career with a ‘business as usual’ attitude, as he prepares the lightly raced 5-year-old New Trails to become his first runner in the Dubai World Cup.
“There is no change to the routine, just the regular canters,” said Bin Harmash, who is enjoying his most successful campaign, after compiling 20 winners in his sixth season with a trainer’s license among the peace and quiet of his desert facility at Al Aasfa stables.
New Trails, who was bred by Darley in the USA and started his career with one win from three races in Godolphin colours under master French trainer Andre Fabre, was switched to Bin Harmash as a gelded 4-year-old last October and promptly defied a break of 18 months by winning a Meydan handicap. He continued to climb up the ranks on the dirt surface, winning another handicap by 10½ lengths and running a good second to North America in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2, before running below his best when fourth to pace-setting Capezzano in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3.
Bin Harmash, who believes that last outing was not New Trails at his best, completed the son of Medaglio d’Oro’s final piece of serious work on Sunday.
North America—Unbeaten in both his starts this season, the 7-year-old looks to be one of the leading contenders for Saturday’s big race.
Last out, North America won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 by 2¼ lengths at Meydan on Feb. 7 and he had his last serious gallop this morning at Satish Seemar’s Zabeel Stables in the heart of downtown Dubai. Big-race pilot Richard Mullen was in the saddle.
“He had his final workout this morning. (He) went over 800m and did it nicely,” said Seemar. “Richard was happy with him and everything is good. We just have to get through the next five days. The horse will have an easy day tomorrow and then just do little hacks for the rest of the week.”
Pavel—The Doug O’Neill-trained Dubai World Cup contender Pavel arrived in Dubai on March 20. He came out onto the dirt track at Meydan Monday morning just before 7:00 a.m., where he worked 800m. His work was supervised by Leandro Mora, Doug O’Neill’s main assistant. The grey, who had finished fourth behind Thunder Snow in last year’s Dubai World Cup, looked in good form.
“He likes it here,” Mora said. “He likes travelling. It took about 18 hours to get here and everything went well. This morning, he worked 800m. On my watch it was 50 flat, but I didn’t take the pulse. I took a wild guess. I watched his performance and saw how he got it back. You could tell that he is in good form. I’m pretty pleased with him.”
Seeking the Soul—Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul was among the first horses on the track Monday morning, coming on just after 5:00 a.m. for an easy gallop. Trainer Dallas Stewart, who is making his second straight appearance in the Dubai World Cup, was en route to Dubai from New Orleans.
Thunder Snow—Godolphin’s contender is already in the local history books as the only horse to win both the Group 2 UAE Derby and Group 1 Dubai World Cup, and will seek to add further gloss to his resume by becoming the first dual winner of the latter.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor, the most successful handler in the history of the 2000m dirt feature with eight winners to his name, said: “He did his final serious piece of work on Saturday and went very well indeed. He needed his Super Saturday outing—his first run since November—badly and has come on a lot for it. We expect him to run a big race under conditions we know suit him, but obviously it is a good race.”
Yoshida—Multiple Grade 1 winner Yoshida, trained by Bill Mott for owners China Horse Club International Ltd, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, arrived in Dubai on March 19 in preparation for the Dubai World Cup.
The handsome Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry arrives off a sixth-place finish in the inaugural Group 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
Mott’s son and top assistant Riley Mott will oversee the final preparations for Yoshida, who boasts Grade 1 wins on turf and dirt, having captured the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, as well as the prestigious Woodward at Saratoga last year.
“He’s settled in really well,” he said. “He travelled great and we’re very happy with him. The facilities here are top class. This is my seventh time over here and I find it very adaptable. We’re treated very well.”
Yoshida went out just after 7:00 a.m. to stretch his legs over the Meydan dirt track.
“He just had a routine gallop this morning and we let him stand in the gate. Nothing too serious,” Mott said.
Jose Ortiz, who has piloted Yoshida though his last two starts and was aboard for the Grade 1 score at Churchill Downs, will make his first appearance in Dubai to ride the versatile bay.
Yoshida is one of four Dubai World Cup runners who competed in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, captured by Accelerate, including the runner-up Gunnevera, third-place finisher and defending Dubai World Cup champion Thunder Snow and the well-travelled Pavel, who finished tenth.
Mott said he expects Ortiz, who guided Yoshida to a closing fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will have plenty of options in the 2000m test.
“It sounds like there’s a lot of pace from the local horses, but we have a horse that’s pretty versatile in the way he runs,” Mott said. “He’s able to adapt to the pace scenario, so we don’t have to be too concerned. It’s just a matter of how the race develops in front of him.”
$6 million Dubai Turf (G1) sponsored by DP World
Almond Eye—Almond Eye trotted 800m then cantered another 1400m over the Meydan dirt track at 5:00 a.m. before schooling in the gate. The 2018 Japan Cup winner Almond Eye will be headlining the Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World as she makes her first start of the 4-year-old season along with her regular rider Christophe Lemaire.
“She lost a bit of weight while traveling, but not more than what we expected. She has settled in and is eating well now,” assistant trainer Keisuke Miyata said.
Deirdre—Group 1 winner Deirdre went out on the track at 5:00 a.m., starting off by hacking in the chute before cantering two laps over the about-1750m dirt track. The 5-year-old mare will be making her second try at the race, having finished third last year. She will be ridden this year by Joao Moreira.
“She is going well,” said her exercise rider Yuta Komiyama.
Dream Castle—Having followed the same route as last year’s Group 1 $6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World winner and stablemate Benbatl, Godolphin’s Dream Castle will surely be a major force in Saturday’s renewal of the 1800m feature. The 5-year-old gelded son of Frankel emulated Benbatl by winning both the Singspiel and Al Rashidiya Stakes before going one better than his illustrious stable companion in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday. All three races are over the same 1800m turf course and distance.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “He did a very good piece of work on Saturday, his last serious gallop before the big race, and seems to still be improving. He is a horse we always really liked and it is great to see things fall into place for him.”
Lord Glitters—David O’Meara’s charge appeared on the Meydan turf track at 7:00 a.m. and had a steady canter around in preparation.
Southern Legend—For the first time since 2014, Hong Kong is represented in the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World, with trainer Caspar Fownes’ charge Southern Legend aiming to upset the apple cart in Saturday’s 1800m feature. Fownes arrived from Hong Kong on Monday morning and was quickly on hand at the Meydan barns to inspect Southern Legend after the 6-year-old gelding completed a “double round canter” under work rider Edward Leung.
“He travelled across last Tuesday and all reports have been good,” Fownes said. “I’ve had the groom with him and we have been happy. But then I saw him this morning and my first thought was that he looks great. I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Southern Legend will be given his first serious hit-out on Tuesday morning with Fownes watching on from the apron.
“We’ll be out on the track at 5:00 a.m, hopefully one of the first ones out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to casting an eye over him, as well as some of his rivals – especially the Japanese filly.”
Vivlos—The nearly black mare went to the Meydan dirt track this morning at 5:00 a.m. under assistant trainer Shinji Yasuda, hacking in the chute before cantering a lap and a half.
“She is a pro at travel now. She really seems to like it,” said her assistant trainer Shinji Yasuda.
Vivlos was snatched back from the edge of retirement at the end of last year after a powerful performance in the Hong Kong Mile, finishing a strong second to winner Beauty Generation. The 6-year-old mare could be making the final start of her career in the Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World, her third attempt at the race after winning it in 2017 and finishing second last year. This year Christian Demuro will be in the saddle, hoping to take the gutsy filly all the way to the winners’ circle.
Without Parole—With the obligatory 48-hour quarantine completed, Royal Ascot winner Without Parole stretched his legs at the training track, taking a leisurely canter around one circuit in a solo spin under regular work rider Maurizio Varju, who reported the 4-year-old son of the great Frankel to be “very good and relaxed.”
Without Parole, a winner of last season’s Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes for 3-year-olds, completed his preparation in the UK with a pleasing work-out on the all-weather surface at Chelmsford racecourse.
Newmarket trainer John Gosden had intended sending Without Parole’s gallop companion Weekender to Meydan for the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors but injury has foiled that plan, leaving the stable with a single representative on the card.
$6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)
Cheval Grand—Cheval Grand had put in a quick work on Sunday, so at 5:00 a.m., he did a slow canter around the Meydan dirt track under work rider Takashi Tsurumachi.
“This was his first time traveling abroad so he was a little tense at first. He traveled well and we didn’t really have any trouble with him,” said the assistant trainer Shinji Yasuda.
The 2017 Japan Cup winner Cheval Grand will be making his first international start in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic. The 7-year-old will be joined by his regular rider all the way from Australia, Hugh Bowman.
Desert Encounter—Newmarket trainer David Simcock is hoping to make it 13th-time lucky when Desert Encounter tackles the race after a promising reappearance in the Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday. The stable’s now-retired Sheikhzayedroad did best of its 12 previous runners when beaten a length into second in last year’s Dubai Gold Cup. Desert Encounter continued his big-race preparation with a steady canter for regular work rider Katie Reed over a circuit of the dirt track on Monday.
“It was very routine and straight-forward,” Simcock’s travelling head groom Ian Russell said of the 7-year-old, who beat only one rival behind Hawkbill in last year’s Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, but ended his season on a high, winning the Grade 1 Canadian International. Appearing for the first time since, Desert Encounter stayed on dourly in the last 400m to finish third, beaten three lengths, behind Old Persian.
“He’s come out of that race in great shape,” Russell said. “You have to be happy with that as a starting point.”
Racing History—Godolphin have won the last two renewals of the 2400m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, courtesy of Jack Hobbs (John Gosden 2017) and Hawkbill (Charlie Appleby 2018) and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Racing History is among their strong 2019 challenge.
Bin Suroor said: “As with all my Saturday runners he did his last proper gallop last Saturday and pleased us very much. The (2410m) trip is probably his optimum. It is a tough race, but he should go well.”
Rey de Oro—Rey de Oro went out on the track this morning at 5:00 a.m. where he trotted a while before cantering a lap over the Meydan dirt track with regular exercise rider Daisuke Tsumagari. The 5-year-old son of King Kamehameha will be making his second consecutive start in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic this weekend, hoping to improve off of a 4th place finish in the 2018 renewal. Regular rider Christophe Lemaire will again be riding the 2017 Japanese Derby winner.
“He seems to have shipped well,” said trainer Kazuo Fujisawa over the phone.
Suave Richard—Went out on the Meydan dirt track and cantered two laps after warming up with a trot. Last year, only a few hours after the 2018 Dubai World Cup, the now 5-year-old won his first Group 1 in the Osaka Hai in Japan and he is taking his talent abroad for the first time.
$2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) sponsored by Gulf News
Drafted—Misty Hollow Farm’s Drafted, trained by Doug Watson, is in career-best form heading into the $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News. The 5-year-old Field Commission gelding has won three of four starts this season starting with a dramatic nose score in the Garhoud Sprint while making his seasonal debut. Following a runner-up effort in the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes, Drafted came back to win the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint, by less than a length, over the upwardly mobile Tato Key.
Last out, the swift grey, with a dramatic flair, prevailed by a neck in a photo with Nine Below Zero and familiar rival Tato Key. Drafted breezed on Sunday morning at Watson’s training yard in his final prep.
“He went a half-mile (800m) on his own,” Watson said. “We're coming back in three weeks and haven't done much with him since. We've tried to keep him fresh. When he works, he goes hard. He goes a good canter over here every morning.”
Watson said he is optimistic regarding Drafted’s chances on Saturday night in a field that includes top American sprinters Roy H, Imperial Hint and last year’s runner-up X Y Jet.
“He's come out of that last race in good shape. He's trained forward and we're very happy with him,” Watson said.
Matera Sky—Matera Sky went out to the Meydan dirt track this morning at 5:00 a.m. where he trotted one lap and cantered another.
“This was the second time he has travelled to Dubai so it was very smooth,” groom Masaki Takano said.
The 5-year-old American bred will be taking on other top dirt sprinters in the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News this weekend with Japan’s current leading jockey Yutaka Take.
Imperial Hint—Two years after a disastrous first trip to Dubai, trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. took no chances getting his stable star ready for a second attempt at the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Imperial Hint became very ill flying from the cold temperatures of Philadelphia to Dubai in 2017, which forced him to miss the race, so he has been wintering at Tampa Bay Downs in 2019, which has a climate much more similar to Dubai’s.
“He’s shipped in well,” Carvajal Jr. said. “He’s doing really well.”
Imperial Hint is one of just 21 horses in Carvajal Jr.’s stable and is by far the best horse he has ever trained.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what that little rocket has done for me and my family. He’s taken us on a great journey.”
Roy H—The two-time defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner was among the strong four-horse contingent of trainer Peter Miller’s 2019 Dubai World Cup meeting runners who went out on the track Monday on morning to stretch their legs. He is expected to breeze 600m on Tuesday morning as he readies for a return engagement in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, where he will be partnered with Paco Lopez.
“It will be just to get a feel for the track, open up their lungs and stretch their legs,” said Miller, who also saddles Stormy Liberal and Belvoir Bay in the Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments and Gray Magician in the UAE Derby sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group. “It’s nothing too strenuous for any of them. Today everyone did their thing and there are no complaints.”
Miller is making his third straight appearance here and looking for his first visit to the winner’s circle. Last year, Roy H was third in this race after missing the break and Stormy Liberal suffered a tough beat to be second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. In 2017, Richard’s Boy was fifth in the Al Quoz Sprint.
“I hope the third time is the charm,” he said. “This is the world stage. It’s a great night of racing. Sheikh Mohammed (His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) puts on a great show. I’m just honoured to be here my third year in a row.”
Miller confirmed that Joel Rosario will ride Gray Magician and Stormy Liberal, and he will leg up Flavian Prat on Belvoir Bay. Though he is looking for big things from all his runners and respects his competition, he is especially confident in Roy H.
“This is a very deep race with a lot of good horses. If he runs his race, he’s better than these horses. He’s beaten these horses on numerous occasions and we travelled halfway around the world. We’re not competing in a home game so there is no such thing as a cinch, but if he runs his race, he’s the best horse and there is no doubt about it—but that’s an awfully big if.”
Tato Key—The David Marnane-trained Argentine import Tato Key emerged on the Meydan Racecourse main track on Monday morning just after 7:00 a.m. with his regular work rider.
Irish trainer Marnane was at the track to throw a watchful eye over the 4-year-old son of Key Deputy, who did a routine canter of just over a lap of the Meydan track.
“He worked on Saturday and he’s fine so he had yesterday off and just did a canter this morning,” Marnane said. “He’s fit, he’s well and he’s very straightforward to be fair. I was very happy with his final breeze, it was nothing high or low, just a solid four eighths and he was good. He is ready to go.”
X Y Jet—X Y Jet will be looking to go one better when he makes his Meydan return in the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News. Last year, the flashy grey, trained by Jorge Navarro for Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm, flew to the lead with 300m to run only to be collared in the final stride by a furious late charge from Mind Your Biscuits. The 7-year-old Kantharos gelding missed a few days of training leading into the Dubai Golden Shaheen last year and Navarro said he is being extra careful with X Y Jet as he goes through his final preparations for Saturday night’s return bout.
“I’m just keeping him happy and trying to run away from every obstacle he puts me through,” Navarro said. “Our team pays attention to all the little details to make sure he’s taking care of himself. For some reason, he always finds a way to put you under stress.”
X Y Jet made a belated appearance to the Meydan dirt track after 7:00 a.m. with the conditioner allowing the horse to travel to the track at his leisure before his morning training.
“We open galloped him and he went pretty slow,” Navarro said. “I’m fine with it. We did everything we needed to do in the United States. The facilities here are top notch - best I’ve ever seen. This is my fourth year here in a row and what they do for the horses and my crew is top notch.”
X Y Jet will be making just his third start of the year on Saturday night following two prep races at his home base at Gulfstream Park. The millionaire grey finished fourth in his seasonal debut in the Sunshine Millions Sprint followed by a romping clear in an optional claiming tilt.
“We went through some details before the race last year, but this time I think I’m bringing him solid into this race. I think he likes to run fresh,” Navarro said. “ In the Sunshine Millions he went :21 and change (for the opening 400m) and the half (800m) in :43. It was probably the quickest second quarter at Gulfstream Park this year. I was bummed out but also happy with how he came back.
“It was probably a mistake to bring him back in a stakes race,” Navarro continued. “I probably should have looked for an easier spot, but when you have a super cool horse like X Y Jet you want to show him off. You want to show off your ‘Ferrari’ but now it’s about keeping him happy. It’s all about him.”
Emisael Jaramillo, regular pilot of the Florida-bred rocket, will retain the mount for Saturday night’s test.
$2.5 million UAE Derby (G2) sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group
Derma Louvre—Derma Louvre galloped a lap and a half around the Meydan dirt track first thing this morning with his regular exercise rider and groom, Takahiro Muro in the irons.
“This was his first time travelling but so we had to see how he shipped, but there were no problems during the flight, and he has since settled into his surroundings well,” said manager Hiroshi Ando.
Gray Magician—The Peter Miller-trained Gray Magician may qualify for a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby with a stellar performance in the UAE, but first things first.
“He would have to show me Saturday night that he belongs in the Kentucky Derby, and then bounce back quickly as well. If he runs an outstanding race then we would certainly consider it. I’m a one day at a time and one race at a time kind of guy. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. I think he certainly belongs in this race. I think the Kentucky Derby is another story. But horses, especially young horses, get good quickly,” said Miller.
Gray Magician, who is owned by Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, came into Miller's Southern California-based stable after making three starts for another trainer and then graduated from the maiden ranks with a spectacular win at Del Mar in November the first time he was saddled by him. Gray Magician has yet to win a stakes race, but Miller has no compunctions about sending him here for the UAE Derby.
“I think it’s a wide-open race. I think he’s as good as any of them if he runs his race and if he gets the trip. All these things are going to come into play but I’m pleased with how the horse shipped over and how he looks. He’s a very good horse and he’s in good form. It’s a wide-open field this year and that’s why we decided to take a chance. Whoever is best on that day is going to pose for a picture,” he said.
Miller said he will send the son of Graydar out for a 600m blow out on Tuesday morning and that Joel Rosario will ride him in the race.
Jahbath—William Haggas will arrive later in the week to oversee the progress of the ultra-promising son of Mukhadram, who made a late juvenile debut in early October and has already collected four wins on the bounce. The colt was out on the dirt track just after 7:00 a.m. under regular partner Simon Scott.
“He travelled well and his temperature is normal, so we’re happy so far,” Haggas said. “He just had a quiet canter on the dirt and will do the same tomorrow.”
Walking Thunder—The Phoenix Ladies Syndicate has made a dream start to its first season of ownership, and its flagbearer Walking Thunder continues to please in his preparation for the UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group at Ahmad bin Harmash’s desert stable.
Walking Thunder, who will be accompanied to post by the same owners’ Golden Jaguar and Superior, had a routine canter on Monday, following a sterner piece of week the day before.
A progressive winner of his first three races, Walking Thunder failed to fire on all cylinders when a running-on second to pace-making winner Estihdaaf in the UAE 200 Guineas on his most recent outing.
Plus Que Parfait—Plus Que Parfait means more than perfect in French and that was the word on Imperial Racing LLC's entrant on Monday morning.
“We galloped a-mile-and-a-quarter (2000m) this morning and he tore down the track and went nice. He's feeling great and doing absolutely wonderful since he arrived on Wednesday evening from South Florida. I'm very happy with him and the way he shipped over here. He's carrying his weight very well and eating very well. He's full of energy so we're over the moon,” said Tommy Molloy, the assistant to trainer Brian Walsh and the exercise rider.
Walsh is expected to arrive in Dubai Monday evening and be on track Tuesday when the horse will gallop in the morning and get a schooling lesson in the evening.
Stubbins—The son of Morning Line and Sierra Vista travelling over from the United States together with stable companion Pavel. On Monday morning, the 3-year-old was one of the first horses to come out onto the dirt track at Meydan. Supervised by Leandro Mora, who is Doug O’Neill’s assistant, he worked over 800m. Leandro Mora said afterwards: “He galloped in about 50, 51. Overall, he covered about 2600m. I was pleased. He was pretty good. It was the idea to work him a bit faster today, so tomorrow he will just eat and sleep.”
$2 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) sponsored by Azizi Developments
Belvoir Bay and Stormy Liberal—The stablemates went out on the track Monday morning to get a feel for their new surroundings and trainer Peter Miller expects a big effort from each come Saturday night when they take on 11 other runners.
While Stormy Liberal gets most of the headlines, Miller advises that it would be foolhardy to overlook the multiple graded stakes winning 6-year-old mare.
“Belvoir Bay has beaten the boys in the past and she’s a gutty little filly. When she’s on her game and she’s sharp she’s as good as any turf sprinter in the United States. Can she beat Stormy Liberal? On her best day she can be brilliant. She has a heart of gold and she’s something special. If it’s her day, I wouldn’t be shocked if she won the race. She’s in super form right now and she shipped over well and is holding her weight. She runs on anything. We have a great jockey in Flavien Prat, who has won many times on her and knows her well,” Miller said.
Miller is looking for redemption for Stormy Liberal, who was last year’s tough beat runner-up in this race. He also took third with the now-retired Conquest Tsunami.
“I think we’ve learned some things and hopefully the third time is the charm. Stormy was a little unlucky last year and had some traffic issues and some problems. He’s an amazing horse and we couldn’t ask for more from him. We claimed him for US $40,000. That’s a dream situation that just doesn’t happen. He’s just a special horse. I think he’s got more to give. He fires every time. He’s got a tremendous heart and he’s going to give his all like he does every time. Whether it’s enough is the question,” he said.
Miller said that although he is still finalising the plans both horses may blow out 600m on Tuesday morning. He did confirm that Joel Rosario will be aboard Stormy Liberal for the race.
Brave Smash—A journey that began in Hokkaido, Japan, and continued across Australia’s eastern seaboard culminates in Dubai on Saturday when Brave Smash tackles the Al Quoz Sprint.
A recent stable acquisition for Kris Lees, the former Japanese galloper is a two-time Group 1 winner in Australia, taking the 1400m Futurity Stakes at Caulfield and the 1200m Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley in 2018. However, two of his best runs have arguably come in defeat when he placed in the Newmarket Handicap in both 2018 and 2019 – the latest of these on March 9 when three-quarters of a length behind star filly Sunlight.
While Brave Smash may have switched barns – and states – his constant companion Maddie Raymond has remained by his side through the transition. She has again accompanied the Tosen Phantom 6-year-old to Dubai, partnering him in what she described as a “quiet trot and canter” on Meydan’s dirt track this morning.
“He’ll have a gallop tomorrow morning and I won’t be aboard then, but I got a great feel from him this morning,” Raymond said. “To be honest, though, he’s a traveller. I’ve taken him to Sydney on every one of his trips up there and he’s one of the best travellers I’ve taken anywhere. He thrives off a trip. The flight here was no problem for him at all, if anything he’s relished it.”
Lees will arrive in Dubai on Wednesday to put the final touches to Brave Smash’s preparation.
Sands of Mali—Sands of Mali went out on the tracking track at 8:10 a.m., ridden by apprentice jockey Sean Davis.
The 4-year-old will be having his first start since winning the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint at Ascot on October 20 and has taken the journey well from Richard Fahey’s stable in Britain.
“He got in on Friday night and this is his first morning out,” Davis said. “He’d been trotting around the quarantine barn over the weekend. He’s travelled over really well, he’s the same weight now as before he travelled over, which is a good sign.
“I’ll see what the boss wants to do but perhaps we’ll go onto the grass track one day.”
The Right Man—The Didier Guillemin trained The Right Man has come back to Dubai in the hope of lifting the Al Quoz Sprint for a second time. He created a bit of a surprise when he won it in 2017 and was then plagued with arthritis, which stopped him from running on a regular basis.
On Monday morning he came out onto the dirt track of Meydan at 7:00 a.m, where he did a light canter.
Viddora—Australian mare Viddora will be hoping to emulate the feats of compatriot Buffering when she contests Saturday’s Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments.
Like 2016 Al Quoz Sprint winner Buffering, the Lloyd Kennewell-trained Viddora is representative of Australia’s easy access to racehorse ownership through syndication. Purchased for a pittance, she has earned almost 70 times her purchase price, including Group 1 successes in the 1200m Winterbottom Stakes in 2017 and the 1000m Moir Stakes in 2018.
“She’s one for the ‘battlers’, that’s for sure,” Kennewell said. “She is just so honest, every owner would love to have a mare like her.”
Another similar thread to Buffering is that, for most of her career, she has been based outside the powerhouse states of New South Wales and Victoria.
Kennewell arrived in Dubai on Monday morning, along with jockey Joe Bowditch. They will be on hand when Viddora has a stronger gallop on Tuesday morning.
“I’ll be expecting her to have a good gallop tomorrow morning,” he said. “If things continue to go well, I’m expecting a good run. She’s settled in nicely and, early on, I’m happy with how things are going.”
$1.5 million Godolphin Mile (G2) sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One
Muntazah—His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Muntazah is one of two entrants, along with Kimbear, for top UAE trainer Doug Watson.
The 6-year-old Dubawi gelding has demonstrated increasingly good form through three starts recently. After landing third in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1, Muntazah romped clear in the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes and arrives at the Godolphin Mile on the heels of a breathtaking 10-length score in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar.
Muntazah put in his final serious piece of work on Sunday morning for Watson.
“He’s in good shape, looks great and is very happy,” Watson said. “He’s a big, big horse and it takes him a while to get him back to the races. It took a couple races to get fully fit and to win the Burj Nahaar like that was really impressive. Whether he can back up in three weeks and do that again, against this type of group, remains to be seen on the night.”
True Timber—Calumet Farm’s representative will make his Meydan debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the Godolphin Mile. True Timber took to the Meydan dirt track for an efficient gallop under the watchful eye of assistant trainer Neal McLaughlin.
A 5-year-old son of Mineshaft, bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Marc C. Ferrell, boasts a record of 4-4-4 from 18 starts but has yet to break through as a stakes winner. Last year, the improving bay won three races and stepped forward at graded level with a strong second in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, defeated less than a length by Patternrecognition.
$1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup (G2) sponsored Al Tayer Motors
Call The Wind—French Group 1 winner, he came onto the dirt track at Meydan on Monday morning for a “recce,” as said Regis Barbedette, who is Freddy Head’s travelling head lad.
Accompanied by a local pony, the gelding, who was ridden by Sebastien Lagrange, trotted and then did a light canter as he prepares for the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors on Saturday. “The boss said he just wanted him to get a look at the track this morning,” confirmed Regis Barbedette.
Gold Mount—It will be a rare foray for a Hong Kong galloper over 3200m when Pan Sutong’s Gold Mount steps out in the Dubai Gold Cup. Only twice in the last 15 years has a Hong Kong-trained horse stepped out to the marathon journey, with races in the jurisdiction restricted to a maximum of 2400m. Those were both in Australia, with the John Moore-trained Dominant finishing sixth in the 2015 Sydney Cup (G1) and Peter Ho’s Mr Medici 10th in the 2010 Melbourne Cup (G1). However, trainer Richard Gibson says that he is excited for the chance to try the extended trip with the Excellent Art 6-year-old.
“These opportunities don’t exist in Hong Kong,” Gibson said. “I think the horse has always needed the longer distance that this race affords. If he’d stayed in England, he probably would have been over these trips anyway.”
Gold Mount has been twice placed at Group 1 level in Hong Kong – both times behind internet sensation Pakistan Star. However, before arriving in Hong Kong, he was a Royal Ascot winner as a 3-year-old, taking the King George V Handicap over 2400m for trainer Alan King.
Having arrived in Dubai on Saturday evening, Gold Mount had another easy morning in the stables with hopes that he will take to Meydan’s dirt track on Tuesday morning.
Platinum Warrior—Yulong Investment’s 4-year-old son of Galileo, who had been training on the dirt at trainer John Sadler’s base in Southern California, went out onto the Meydan turf course for a breeze after 7:00 a.m. Monday. The 3200m event will be the longest race of his career and this marathon is a distance that American horses rarely try.
Shane Foley, who rode him three times when he was based was in Ireland for trainer Mick Halford until August 2018 and was aboard for Platinum Warrior’s win in the San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita last time out, retains the mount.
Sadler, who did not make the overseas trip and was unavailable, has had two previous starters in Dubai but this horse will be his first entrant at Meydan and his first runner in a decade. The conditioner of 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate won his first time over with Our New Recruit in the Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2004 and then finished eighth in the 2009 edition of the race with Machismo.
Prince Of Arran—Prince of Arran had a spin around the main track at 7:15 a.m. ridden by Natasha Eaton, the horse’s regular travelling companion.
“We just had a steady canter,” Eaton said. “He feels really good. It was a really solid run last time and he’s done well since.”
$1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1) sponsored by Mubadala
Al Shamoos—The grey mare Al Shamoos, trained by Charles Gourdain, came onto the dirt track of Meydan on Monday morning. She walked onto the track under Nuno Duarte
“We just went for a little canter,” Duarte said. “She travelled over well.”