Buena Vista – Hiroshi Matsuda, trainer of Buena Vista, said: “We do not change our training schedule even when we are in foreign country, so she put in a routine canter today. The climate and the surroundings in the stable area are very good, which is good for her. About draw no. 13, she is a type of horse who does not start well, so it does not matter. Actually my grandson said to me on the other day that Buena Vista has won twice from stall No. 13.
Cape Blanco is rated by many as the main danger to Twice Over and appeared on the course just after 6am with his stablemates and UAE Derby contenders Master Of Hounds and Alexander Pope.
Jamie Spencer was aboard the Irish Champion Stakes winner and the four year old was noticeably warm on his neck after spending almost half an hour exploring his new surroundings.
Spencer said: “He had a steady canter just to stretch his legs, which is just what Aidan wanted. We are here now and there are two days to go so we'll just have to see how we get on.”
Fly Down – With a great deal more activity around Meydan on Thursday morning with the annual “Breakfast with the Stars” programme, assistant trainer Tim Poole made a slight adjustment in the training regimen of Fly Down.
“I told Tiffany (exercise rider Green) to take him down a little farther along the turn past all of the (TV) cameras before stopping to let the horse look around,” Poole said as he watched from the apron. “I also told her to do the same on the front side – go past all of the people at the breakfast area – before turning him around for his gallop.
“He was taking it all in on the way over here from the barn and wanted to stop to look around a bit,” he continued. “He definitely noticed there was something different.”
Once Fly Down's “sight seeing” was over, the horse was sent on a routine 2000m jog.
“He's ready,” Poole said. “I just want to keep him happy until Saturday.”
Gio Ponti – Trainer Christophe Clement pronounced his three-time American champion Gio Ponti ready for the Dubai World Cup after observing the six year old gallop an easy 1600m and then school in the starting gate on Thursday morning at Meydan.
Clement, who arrived in Dubai Wednesday evening, smiled and declared “everything is great. He is very sound and very happy. There’s not much I can do now; I don’t do the running, he does. So, it’s up to him. We are confident and hope for the best.”
Exuding a contained energy with a keen expression, Gio Ponti stood in the starting gate calmly with his ears pricked for several minutes before backing out with no problem. Members of the Dubai Racing Club gate crew told Clement the horse seemed to handle the pre-race experience better this year than he had in 2010, prior to his close fourth-place effort in that Dubai World Cup.
Clement said Gio Ponti never had a problem in the starting gate until after the 2009 Group One Breeders’ Cup Classic, when starter Quality Road “freaked out” and caused many anxious moments that Gio Ponti seemed to recall later whenever he approached a gate. Gio Ponti finished second to Zenyatta in that Classic on Santa Anita Park’s All-Weather track and was second to Goldikova in the 2010 Group One Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf at Churchill Downs. Overall, he has won six Group One races and $5,037,800.
The main question hanging over Gio Ponti is how he will run without a Dubai World Cup prep race this year? Clement said the horse was not ready to race before he left the United States and while it is typically “better to have a prep when you race at this level,” the fact that Gio Ponti has not run yet in 2011 has left him fresher and not as depleted from the travel to Dubai as he was in 2010. “It is a give and take situation,” Clement noted.
Gio Ponti’s owner, Shane Ryan, who owns Kilboy Estate in Ireland and Castleton Lyons Farm in Kentucky, was due to arrive in Dubai Thursday and will be on hand to witness his horse’s Dubai World Cup performance, as he was last year, Clement said.
Gitano Hernando – Marco Botti has brought Gitano Hernando along steadily through the Dubai International Racing Carnival and last year’s Dubai World Cup sixth build on his debut effort to finish third to Twice Over in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III.
“He is in good form and had a blowout this morning,” said Botti after his American Grade One winner worked on the main track. “All is going to plan and I could not be happier with him. He should be 100% for the Dubai World Cup. He gave me my first Group One when winning in America and also won a Group Three in Ireland so he means a lot to me and my staff. I have seen a lot of improvement in him while he has been here and I think there was still improvement in him when he was second to Twice Over. If I am right then he will be spot-on for the race.”
Gitano Hernando will race for Herman Brown after the Dubai World Cup following his sale to Ramzan Kadyrov, and Botti added: “It will be a pity to lose him but that is the way of racing.”
Golden Sword, Musir – Kevin Shea's mount Golden Sword drew 14 of 14 but the jockey is not duly concerned. He said: "He is a staying type rather than a speed horse so the draw is not an issue. He has improved throughout the Carnival and I am really looking forward to another crack at the biggest prize in racing."
He is trained by Mike de Kock, as is Musir who is drawn in seven. The trainer said: "Musir has the best draw of the pair but Golden Sword is a hold-up horse anyway. Both are in good form."
Twice Over – Tom Queally again teamed up with Henry Cecil’s Dubai World Cup hope and put the A Maktoum Challenge Round III winner through his paces with two canters on the All-Weather.
Queally said: “I could not be happier with the way he has gone. He is drawn wide again in the race in stall 12, like he was last time out when he quickened well and put up a nice performance. In the [Dubai] World Cup last year he was also drawn wide, got a bump going into the first turn and was never happy. Hopefully this time I will be able to get him in a bit and keep him happy.”
Victoire Pisa – Mirco Demuro on running Victoire Pisa, “He is very nice and is in a good form. I think he likes the All-Weather. The stall No. 6 is very good because I cannot save ground. I think all of them in the field are my rivals. Gio Ponti is a good horse, and Twice Over ran last year as well. He was shying a little bit this morning but there is no hitch for him.”
Katsuhiko Sumii-trainer of Victoire Pisa and Rulership – added: “The two of the horses are in a good condition and both traveled well. As for the Dubai World Cup field, Victoire Pisa never competed with such strong horses and he never ran on All-Weather, so I cannot compete my horse with other horses, but Victoire Pisa had hard trainings on the surface, so I have confidence and All-Weather should suit him. We were beaten by Buena Vista at Tokyo Racecourse with big galloping course, and we beat her at Nakayama Racecourse, which has short bends, so I am looking forward to seeing what is going on the All-Weather course on Saturday. As for Rulership, after he won the Group Two Nikkei Shinshun Hai in January, the owner racing club requested me to go to Dubai.”
“Both horses travelled well and have been doing well here. Victoire Pisa has probably never taken on horses of this calibre, and has never run on All-Weather. But the horse likes a fast track, and he’s handled it well here.”
“Buena Vista will I am sure be tough rival, but is I think better suited by a galloping track, whereas Victoire Pisa is better on sharper track.”
“We left before earthquake, and what has happened back at home has been terrible. I hope that a Japanese win here can give people back home something to cheer about.”
“One of my staff was here with Vodka last year and has been to France also, so we are getting to know a little more about international travel, and everything has gone according to plan here.”
“Rulership ran in and won a Group Two for the owners, who also own Rose Kingdom, whom Rulership beat that day. That decided them on bringing Rulership here to Dubai.”
On the subject of the earthquake and tsunami, one of my staff comes from the Miyagi district where the Yamamoto training centre houses around 200 horses. The tsunami damage stopped just short of the centre, and all the horses escaped injury, but because of electricity and water problems all of them have had to be moved elsewhere.”
”Victoire Pisa is an adaptable horse – he ran close to the pace in the Arima Kinen , but came from off the pace last time, so it does not matter too much how the race is run. I think he is still improving, and is a better horse now than he was in France.”
Group One US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by China Guangsha Group
Al Shemali – Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe said: “It was wonderful to win the Dubai Duty Free last year with Al Shemali, a great thrill on the night. So far as this year was concerned our plan was to run in the Dubai World Cup, but his runs this year have been a little below par so we went for the Sheema Classic instead. He’s drawn in 13, which is no problem over 2400m.”
“It has taken a couple of runs to get him back, but he’s worked hard over last 15 days.”
Bourbon Bay - Trainer Neil Drysdale opted to send Dubai Sheema Classic contender Bourbon Bay to the training track on Thursday morning at Meydan. The multiple graded stakes winner cantered 1800m on the turf course with exercise rider Umberto Gomez aboard.
Bourbon Bay appeared keen, but steady, outfitted with a French Martingale, also known as a French Gogue. “I am pleased with how his is doing,” said Drysdale.
Champ Pegasus – Kentucky-bred colt, Champ Pegasus trained on the main track at Meydan on Thursday morning, in preparation for Saturday’s Dubai Sheema Classic.
Outfitted in draw reins, the handsome bay colt cantered 2400m with Nestor Capitane aboard. Mandella explained the additional equipment, “He’s a feisty guy. He likes to get his head up. It just keeps him together.”
Mandella went on about the colts colorful personality.
“He’s mischievous and ornery,” he said with a smile. “He’s like a little kid looking for trouble all the time. You put your hand on his nose and he will lick you like a dog, but you go to move and he’ll bite you. But a good-natured horse.”
The trainer also commented on post 7 for Champ Pegasus.
“It’s a good post,” Mandella said. “You’re not committed too far down inside and it gives you a chance to see what happens. At a mile and a half I don’t think it makes a lot of difference where you start from but, if I had a choice, this is the post I would have wanted.”
Mandella expects to canter Champ Pegasus on the main track on Friday.
Dangerous Midge – Brian Meehan’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner made his debut on the track yesterday morning and the trainer used this morning’s exercise to give Martin Dwyer’s Sheema Classic mount a tour of Meydan, with Meehan’s UAE Derby runner Mantoba also in attendance.
“We schooled him under the tunnel and through the paddock and pre-parade ring to get him used to the surroundings,” said Meehan. “He then had a steady canter around the track and they are both well.”
Irish Flame – Kevin Shea is looking forward to his ride on Irish Flame, saying: "He has not been able to show how good he is yet and the draw has been kind. He prefers cut in the ground which he won’t get but he is a nice horse."
King Dancer – King Dancer's trainer Sean Woods said: “The horse himself is in good shape, just ticking over now until raceday but the draw widest out in 14 makes it pretty difficult. I was hoping he drew from 1 to 6 but he got the opposite of that.”
Laaheb – Richard Hills steered owner His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Laaheb to wins at both Kempton Park and Ascot at the end of last season and the rider was aboard as trainer Roger Varian’s debut runner worked on the All-Weather track this morning.
The five year old defeated Godolphin’s Whispering Gallery in the Cumberland Lodge on the latter occasion and that form has worked out particularly well with the runner-up winning twice at this year’s Carnival.
“He kept improving last year and won two races at the backend of the season,” said Hills. “He stays very well, loves fast ground and worked extremely well at Lingfield 10 days ago.”
Marinous – Freddy Head’s Marinous was one of the first horses to come out onto the main track this morning. He went for a canter and Freddy Head confirmed: “He did a canter over 1600m and seems to be in great form. This is all he will do between now and the race. I’m happy with the draw on the outside, as he is a horse that takes a bit of time to find his balance.”
Redwood – Barry Hills’ two runners for Dubai World Cup night made their debuts on the main track after clearing quarantine this morning and Redwood was given a very positive appraisal by his trainer.
He will carry the colours of Prince Khalid Abdulla in the Dubai Sheema Classic and is no stranger to international campaigning after running in Canada and Hong Kong last season.
“He had a leg stretch and went once round the track,” said Hills. “He has travelled very well and travelled a long way last year by going to Hong Kong and Canada so he is used to it. He has had a very good preparation and was pretty good in his runs last year. I don’t think he has ever produced what he is capable of as he has never had a strong gallop. He is rated 115 and with a strong pace I think you will see that go up.”
Rulership – Katsuhiko Sumii-trainer of Victoire Pisa and Rulership – said: “The two of the horses are in a good condition and both traveled well. As for Rulership, after he won the Group Two Nikkei Shinshun Hai in January, the owner racing club requested me to go to Dubai.”
Group One US$5 million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free
Bankable – Herman Brown trains last year's runner-up Bankable and said: "He had a nice spin on the All-Weather this morning and is in good form. We are drawn in the middle which is fine."
Beauty Flash – Beauty Flash's trainer Tony Cruz said: “Our preparation has gone fine and he has drawn beautifully in two so I am hoping it’s all set up for a big run.”
Better Than Ever – "Same as yesterday, just a couple of rounds,” trainer Laurie Laxon said of Better Than Ever. “He shied at some people hanging over the railing and Simon almost fell off. We need to work the horse near the grandstand as it's very imposing. The horse is good. He is eating well. I was pleased with the barrier. The barrier draw won't change our tactics."
Derbaas – Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe said, “For Derbaas the distance is no problem, the draw no problem. It will be tough in the Dubai Duty Free with horses from all over the world, but he’s had a good Carnival, and deserves to take his chance. This is tougher, but I hope he’ll go well.”
Presvis – Luca Cumani has been a regular on the track as the sun rises this week and gave Presvis another outing this morning.
“He is going very well and just did a hack over one circuit,” said the Italian trainer. “He is looking very good and while he does have his quirks we work around those. He is a character and isn’t easy but we get along well and he has done a great job for us by winning over £2 million in prize money.”
Raihana, River Jetez – Trainer Mike de Kock is doubly represented with Raihana and River Jetez and said: "One good draw (River Jetez), one not so (Raihana). Both are fit and well and should run their race."
Rajsaman – Rajsaman, trained by Freddy Head, went for a canter on the main track this morning with stable companion Marionous who is running in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Freddy Head said: “He cantered over 1600m and I’m happy with him. It will be his first run on the surface. We had the choice between this race and the Dubai World Cup and opted for this one, as it seemed the slightly easier option.”
Royal Bench – French raider Royal Bench was one of the last horses to arrive in Dubai and only stretched his legs on the main track on Thursday morning. His trainer Robert Collet said: “He didn’t do anything. He only went once around the track. He has only just arrived and looks like he always does.”
As to the draw he only said: “I’m not bothered by the draw as you can’t change it anyway.”
Tazeez – John Gosden scooped the Dubai Sheema Classic 12 months ago and is back for more this time with Tazeez gunning for glory in the Dubai Duty Free, with Utley also running in the UAE Derby. The Newmarket-based trainer made his first appearance of the week at the track today, but was playing down Tazeez’s chance.
He said: “Both of mine were out on the track at around 6am and had a nice canter around after they jogged yesterday. Tazeez is in good form and is like an American horse in that he works on his own. He has something to find on the formbook and while he may run well I think he will be outgunned.”
Victor’s Cry – With owners Michele and Bob Billings of Equilete Stable standing at the rail alongside trainer Eoin Harty, Group One winner Victor’s Cry flexed his considerable muscles in an easy gallop over 2400m (about 1 ½ miles) on Thursday. The six year old son of Street Cry has dazzled onlookers ever since he arrived in Dubai, and his owners said his striking appearance, attitude and condition including a dappled coat give them more reasons to be optimistic about the Dubai Duty Free.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best,” said Bob Billings.
“He does look beautiful,” exclaimed Michele Billings as Victor’s Cry passed her with his neck arched.
While Harty describes Victor’s Cry as “the Brad Pitt” of the horses racing on the Dubai World Cup programme, there is a lot more to him than just good looks. When Victor’s Cry won the Group One Shoemaker Mile Stakes at Hollywood Park last May, he crossed the finish line in lightning fast time of 1:32.88.
“I think he has a very good chance,” Harty said in analyzing the 1800m (about 1 1/8-mile) Dubai Duty Free. “His style of running is conducive to the way they run races here and he has a very good turn of foot.”
Victor’s Cry drew post 14 in the 16-horse field and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
Wigmore Hall – Martin Bell paid his second visit to morning track work this week as Jebel Hatta winner Wigmore Hall cantered on the All-Weather, with his trainer nominating fellow Brit Presvis as the main danger on Saturday night”.
He just had a canter this morning as he breezed yesterday,” said Bell. “The training is done now and his preparation has gone according to plan. He enjoys being in different places and is always interested in his surroundings. He is bright and alert. Presvis was a little unlucky behind us when third in the Jebel Hatta. He was only beaten a neck and is probably the one to beat.
“We took him to Chicago last August and he loved the travel and took to it well. That was really what told me I had a horse that could be an international globetrotter. He’s an adaptable horse and [2000m] is his ideal trip.”
“It was nice to win his prep race out here, in fact a pleasant surprise, as we had not done a great deal with him beforehand back at home. That makes me think that there is further improvement to come from the horse, so I hope he’ll be a factor in Saturday’s race.”
“I can’t compare him yet with the Derby and Oaks winners that I’ve been fortunate enough to train ( Motivator and Sariska), as he’s yet to win a Group One race, but he’s the first horse I’ve had that’s been suitable for international travel, so we felt we had to give this a go.”
“Of course it would be fantastic to win a race like this on Dubai World Cup night. Meydan is just such an unbelievable racecourse – it is remarkable what [His Highness] Sheikh Mohammed has built here. I think that he has a live chance in the race, there is no point in coming if you don’t think you have a legitimate shot at winning.”
“Hopefully there will be a decent pace in the race and Jamie (Spencer) can settle and relax him down the back straight somewhere off the pace , and then come with his run in the straight. He’s a young pretender in the race with improvement to come, whereas some of the others are a little longer in the tooth with more miles on the clock.”
“As a young horse he was a pussycat – butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, then as a two year old nearly savaged me when I saddled him for his first race, and then the second time did savage me, and then nearly killed himself third time out. After that we gelded him and he’s done nothing but improve since.”
“If all goes well here, then the plan will be to go on to Hong Kong and Singapore from here.”
Group One US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News
Dim Sum & Sunny King – Dim Sum & Sunny King's trainer John Moore said: “They both worked separately on the All-Weather very well with Darren [Beadman, jockey] riding them each time. They went very well. It’s funny because Darren said they both felt even better, more comfortable going left-handed than they do going the way around back home in Hong Kong. So everything has gone really well. Just hope they get clear runs and there will be no excuses because I couldn’t have them much better for the race.”
Dynamic Blitz – Ricky Yiu, Dynamic Blitz's trainer said: “He is very well. He loves Dubai. He won at the track and distance nearly two months ago and has done great since. We think he can run another good race.”
Escape Route – Richard Mullen rides Escape Route for Satish Seemar and said: "This horse has to be one of the most versatile in the UAE and has plenty of speed. Clearly this is a tough race but he is in good form."
Euroears – One of the early favorites for the Dubai Golden Shaheen, Euroears has been the subject of much speculation concerning the origin of his name. The mystery was solved on Thursday when Texas-based owners Jim and Marilyn Helzer, who started racing Quarter Horses in the 1960s and bought their first Thoroughbreds three decades later, arrived in the quarantine barn area to see their runner.
Helzer related that the couple acquired Euroears as a yearling to satisfy a debt. At the time a thin and immature colt, the son of Langfuhr was turned out for about a year and began to develop into the massive and handsome seven year old he is today. The story goes that due to a lingering skin condition, the horse was sensitive about being touched around his ears, and Helzer used to say, “How are your old ears?”
Eventually, the phrase—with the incorporation of Helzer’s Texas accent—was condensed down into Euroears, and the rest, the Helzers hope, might become part of Dubai racing history.
After a short blowout on Tuesday overseen by trainer American Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Euroears walked on Wednesday and jogged in the quarantine barn area on Thursday.
“He is doing awesome,” Baffert reported after Breakfast With the Stars.
Force Freeze – Doug Watson again runs Force Freeze in the big sprint and said: "We always thought he was a high-class sprinter but he has not been the easiest to train. He has needed his runs this year and, hopefully, is in as good shape as we can get him."
Green Birdie – Green Birdie's trainer Caspar Fownes said: “He only arrived on Tuesday night because it was a late decision in coming here but he has settled in well and he’s eating and drinking up fine. Ideally, you’d prefer a longer gap between arrival and raceday but our hand was forced a different way as we intended running in Japan a day but we had to pull the plug on that one after what happened there. But he was cherry ripe to run a big race in Japan so there is no reason why he can’t do so here. He has the form on the board beating Rocket Man in Singapore last year. The widest draw in 10 is not ideal but I think he can also use that to his advantage as he can settle off what’s probably going to be a strong pace and then kick strongly himself. So I’m pretty hopeful of a big run as long as he takes to the surface. He has won big races on wet and fast tracks on turf so I don’t so why he shouldn’t adapt to the All-Weather either.”
Kinsale King – The hub-bub of activity for the annual “Breakfast with the Stars” programme on Thursday morning led trainer Carl O'Callaghan to make a change in his routine for Kinsale King, taking the defending champion of the 1200m Dubai Golden Shaheen to the training track rather than the main track for a 3200m jog.
“I decided to keep him back on the training track rather than come up here this morning,” O'Callaghan said. “He's feeling really good. He's ready to jump out of his skin so I kept him away from all the activity up here to keep him mellow and save his energy for Saturday night.”
Group Two US$2 million UAE Derby, sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group
Ahlaain – David Simcock’s runner again went around the All-Weather track under the trainer’s wife, Jenny, without being asked any serious questions.
Alexander Pope, Master of Hounds – Aidan O’Brien’s UAE contenders cleared quarantine and spent half-an-hour on the track soaking in the Meydan atmosphere in company with Dubai World Cup hope Cape Blanco.
Mantoba – Brian Meehan brought Mantoba out on to the track and schooled him through the tunnel, parade ring, pre-parade ring and give him a steady canter on the track in company with stablemate Dangerous Midge.
Sweet Ducky – For the third consecutive day, American-raced Sweet Ducky was joined by jockey Tom Queally on the All-Weather track at Meydan. Following an easy gallop, new trainer Herman Brown seemed more positive about the Pulpit colt than he had earlier in the week, when Sweet Ducky was still unsettled following the long journey to Dubai from Florida.
“All is good; I’m happy with the horse,” Brown said. “He’s relaxed really well in the last couple of days. Now it’s going to be a question of how he handles the surface.”
Recently purchased by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, Sweet Ducky has never raced on an All-Weather track, with his previous six starts on dirt in the United States. Another question mark is how the colt, who has raced on the pace and never won further than 1600m (one mile), will negotiate the 1900m (about 1 3/16 miles) distance of the UAE Derby and the differing speed tactics of an international race featuring older Southern Hemisphere-breds.
“We can’t commit to the front; we’ll leave it to the jockey,” said Brown. “I’m just hoping with age that (Sweet Ducky) is getting stronger as he goes along. We’ll ride him cautiously and give him every chance.”
Utley – Utley disappointed on his final juvenile run at the Breeders’ Cup but trainer John Gosden had no hesitation in bringing him to Dubai for the US$2 million UAE Derby.
“He had trouble on the track at Churchill Downs as he couldn’t get any grip, like a lot of horses,” said Gosden. “I am happy with him in every way, apart from the draw. Stall 10 makes like tough but there is lovely prize money to run at.”
Group Two US$1 million Godolphin Mile, sponsored by Etisalat
Conveyance – Richard Mullen is hoping for a big run from Conveyance. He said: "He ran a great race on Super Thursday and will have come on a lot for that. It is an open race but he seems our best chance."
Hearts Of Fire – Ibrahim Al Malki has been pleased with Hearts of Fire thus far. He said: "We are representing Qatar and it is great to be running on this world stage. He has been running well and we expect him to do so again."
I Want Revenge – Under the lights of Meydan, the nearly black colt I Want Revenge cantered 2000m on Thursday morning at 5:30am. The son of Stephen Got Even set off from the quarantine barn at 5am with assistant trainer Michelle Nevin aboard.
I Want Revenge will race Saturday at Meydan in the Godolphin Mile, sponsored by Etisalat. Trainer Rick Dutrow sends out a pair on Saturday, including Stradivinsky in the Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Emirates NBD.
“They’re both doing good, both happy,” said Nevin.
Dutrow looks to duplicate the success he had in 2008 when he won two Dubai World Cup card races with Benny the Bull and Diamond Stripes.
Imbongi – Mike de Kock sounds hopeful rather than confident regarding Imbongi's chances: "He has been a great servant to the yard and has run well enough at the Carnival this year. It will probably be his last start and it would be nice to go out on a high."
Make Music For Me – Godolphin Mile entrant Make Music for Me galloped 2000m on Thursday morning at Meydan. According to trainer Alexis Barba, the son of Bernstein will also gallop on Friday, with a decision yet to be made about Saturday training.
Make Music for Me breezed 800m Tuesday morning at Meydan. Barba was pleased with the way her colt emerged from the workout. “He came out of his work great, super,” she said.
“He can be tough to gallop,” continued Barba, while watching Make Music for Me canter by. “Andy gets him to relax pretty good. You could see he’s got a little pull on him. I think now that he’s used to being here he’s taken a little more pull than the first couple of days, just because they are always looking around.
“He’s pretty much in control of what he does. He’s very ambitious. He’s a good eater. He’s not that big strapping horse but he’s got the constitution of a big horse.”
Owner Peter Johnson and his wife Ellen bought Make Music for Me at the Barrett’s Sale in March 2009. Still new to the business, Johnson has had quite a bit of success with his colt.
“He took us to the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “We took fourth there. We’ve had a lot of fun with this horse. What more can you ask? It’s our first trip to Dubai and we’re really happy with 'Music'.”
Red Jazz – Jockey Michael Hills gave his father Barry’s Red Jazz a spin around the All-Weather track after the our fyear old cleared quarantine this morning.
He moved in company with stablemate Redwood and Hills senior has no issues over the 1600m trip for a horse who has yet to win beyond 1400m.
He said: “We know he gets the [1600m] as was a close third in the QEII Stakes at Ascot last year and if he handles the surface then I think he has a good chance. He is the top-rated horse in the race and I think he is a better horse this year than last.”
Zafeen Speed – Zafeen Speed has improved dramatically with his racing and jockey Wayne Smith said: "Whatever he does on Saturday he is going to be a serious horse next season. He seems to be getting better and should go well."
Group Two US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored By Emirates NBD
Better Be The One – "(He went) really good,” said Better Be The One's trainer Michael Freedman. “Danny said he felt great. He strode up well on the bit and Danny said he felt every bit as good as he did at home which is what you want to hear. He tracked nice and straight even with the grandstand to look at. I am happy with the barrier draw. From what I can gather it's neither here nor there. Speaking to local knowledge suggests the inside is the same as the outside. As long as there is a bit of speed and we can get a tail into the race he will be right."
Happy Dubai – The excitement seems to be increasing for Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe who seems very hopeful Happy Dubai will run a huge race: "The horse is in great form and we think still improving. We expect a big big run."
Invincible Ash – “She is doing a hack canter today as she couldn’t be fitter. She has had a very good carnival with two placed runs and twice fifth. This is a very strong race and if she could finish in the first six I would be delighted,” said Invincible Ash's trainer Mick Halford.
JJ The Jet Plane – Bernard Fayd'Herbe is the man in the saddle on JJ The Jet Plane and said: "He is a real star and a great sprinter. I cannot wait and we are really looking forward to it. The drop back to 1000m should not be a problem and we have a nice draw."
Mar Adentro – Mar Adentro worked under his exercise rider on the turf course this morning. His trainer Richard Chotard said: “He worked over 1600m on the turf. He was in great form this morning. Usually he is not very motivated when he is on his own, but this morning he showed a nice action, even though he did have a peek at the stand. I’m very pleased with his form.”
Mr Gruff – As has been the case all week, the Ron Ellis-trained Mr Gruff came up to the main track at Meydan for an easy piece of exercise under fellow trainer Carl O'Callaghan, who saddles Kinsale King for the Dubai Golden Shaheen.
“He seems very happy and well within himself,” O'Callaghan reported after the jog. “He's acclimated to his surroundings quite well and is getting better and better as the week has gone on.”
Ellis had toyed with having the horse gallop on the training track instead of the main course because of the extra activity associated with the annual “Breakfast with the Stars” programme but eventually elected to come up to the main track as scheduled.
“He's such a laid back horse,” Ellis said. “He hasn't run in awhile (since May 2010) but he always runs his best first or second off the layoff. He's always been a nice horse to deal with and all that's left now is to keep him happy for Saturday.”
Drawing the outside barrier in the 16-horse lineup for the Al Quoz Sprint, Ellis thinks he has an edge over the Euorpeans and others at the new 1000m distance of the race.
“He's at an advantage at [1000m],” Ellis said. “The others I think like just a bit more distance.”
Sole Power – Trainer Eddie Lynam said: “Just doing the bare minimum with him this morning because if we go any faster he will take off on us. He is only a small horse but he has done well over the winter putting on about 15 kilos in weight. You could have fit him into a suitcase last year he was so small but he still won a Group One despite it.”
Spin Cycle – Richard Mullen rides Spin Cycle for Satish Seemar and said: "I know the horse well from England and thought he was a good type for Dubai. He disappointed first time but won well at Jebel Ali. He is in good shape but it is a tough race."
Stradivinsky – In his usual animated fashion, the Richard Dutrow-trained Stradivinsky entered the main track Thursday morning around 7:00am. The son of Stravinsky cantered 2000m with Michelle Nevin aboard.
The big bay gelding breaks from post 14 in the Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Emirates NBD, which is run on the turf straightaway Saturday at Meydan.
Assistant trainer Michelle Nevin will check-in with trainer Rick Dutrow, who has remained in the U.S., for Friday’s training plans.
“We’ll probably just have to talk to Rick. Most likely he won’t do a lot, probably jogging,” she said.
War Artist – German owner Robert Plersch was on the track on Thursday morning to see War Artist canter once around the track. He said: “War Artist looks good. It is a nice to have a horse like him to compete in these kind of races. I didn’t expect to have a runner on Dubai World Cup Night this year, so that is great. We are taking it easy and if he is in the first five we are happy. He is older now and you just don’t know how good the younger ones are.”