Mantoba goes in the UAE Derby after running down the field at the Breeders’ Cup last November but it is Dangerous Midge who is really exciting the trainer.
Martin Dwyer was absent that day through injury but is back in the saddle ahead of the US$2 million contest and the jockey has been aboard Dangerous Midge during his track work this week.
Meehan said: “He seems to be fine and I am very happy with him. He ran a great race in the Breeders’ Cup and after that we thought about taking him to the Japan Cup before coming here.
“In the end we decided to just come here and we gave him a break after America and started training him again before Christmas. I think he can improve again as he is still a lightly-raced horse. He didn’t race as a two year old and I think he can keep improving as he is robust. He has been in great form at home and being out here has brought him on again. Martin knows him very well and had even been riding him at home before he won his maiden.”
David Junior came straight off the plane to land the Dubai Duty Free in 2006 and Meehan hopes that winning formula can see Dangerous Midge strike.
“He has had an easier spring at home than David Junior had,” he said. “We did have a bit of snow at one time but we were able to keep him going on the all-weather and he had a gallop at Kempton Park the other week. Plenty of people thought he was lucky in the Breeders’ Cup and I hope he can step up on it on Saturday and prove them wrong as it pretty much looks his race. We are racing for a lot of money but every time I have stepped him up he has responded, but it will be a tough race.”
Mantoba was on the upgrade in England last autumn winning two races on the bounce before finishing 10th of 12 runners in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Meehan added: “He seems very well and the UAE Derby seemed like a sensible race to come for. He is progressive, the [All-Weather] should suit him and it is a $2 million prize, so why stay at home. He was drawn low against the fence at the Breeders’ Cup and was forced out onto the pace which didn’t suit him.
“After he ran at the Breeders’ Cup we immediately started thinking about Dubai. We thought about the [Dubai International Racing] Carnival too but when he was due to ship out he had a foot problem and had week off so we had to cancel that, but since then there have been no interruptions.”