Photo Credit: Liza Hendricks (DRC)
Raymond Mamone’s $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1) favourite Imperial Hint had his last serious work at Meydan toward the 2020 edition of the world’s richest dirt sprint, breezing 800m (four furlongs) on Thursday morning in 47 seconds flat under exercise rider Jose Contreras. The Luis Carvajal Jr. trainee broke off at the 800m pole and went his first 400m in about 24 seconds before finishing up final 400m down the Meydan stretch in about 23 seconds. His connections hope he can improve upon an off-the-board finish last out in the $1.5 million Saudia Sprint in Riyadh, as well as a third in last year’s Shaheen as the favourite.
“Jose was really impressed with the work and so was I,” Carvajal said. “He hadn’t worked him before and said he went fantastic and his gallop-out looked great. I couldn’t be there, but Riley Mott gave me a great video. It seems like he really does like that track, unlike in Saudi, where I knew early that he wasn’t liking it. (Joel) Rosario was going after him to get involved after he broke and I knew right away were in trouble. Usually he just gets into the race. That track is deep and I think you need horses who are bigger with bigger feet and heavier (bodies).
“He seems to like Meydan and Dubai,” Carvajal said. “I could see that (in the work). He just loves to run and run into the bit and I know I’m in good shape when he works like that. He’ll work again next week; an easy work. He puts a lot into his work, so I try to space them out. He looks effortless, but he is going fast and we like to give him an extra couple days.”
As far as a jockey for the Shaheen, Carvajal said that Joel Rosario and Javier Castellano are the most likely candidates on March 28, but no plans have been made. Carvajal is set to arrive later this week from the USA.
Per their connections, others considered possible for the race other than Imperial Hint are DeFrancis Dash (G3) winner Killybegs Captain, Dubawi (G3) first and second Gladiator King and Truck Salesman, Mahaab Al Shimaal (G3) winner Wafy, Garhoud Sprint (Listed) winner Ibn Malik, Palos Verdes (G2) victor Captain Scotty and Saudia Sprint runner-up Matera Sky.