$12 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airlines
After being away from the races for more than 240 days, when Country Grammer resurfaced in the Group 1 Saudi Cup no-one knew what to expect. But the five-year-old entire son of Tonalist showed up in a big way finishing a bang-up second. He seems to be thriving at Meydan racecourse as he looks to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a fourth victory in the prestigious Dubai World Cup. After spending Monday jogging quietly in the confines of the International Quarantine track, Country Grammer was on the muscle as he passed the wire with great energy under the watchful eye of longtime Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes.
“Country Grammer is a horse who will run all day and will definitely appreciate the two turns and the 1 1/4-mile distance of this race. He has always been a straightforward horse to train and nothing has changed with him here.”
Conditioner Doug O’Neill’s fan favorite Hot Rod Charlie has had everything go his way since shipping out to Meydan racecourse on January 19. A winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (G2) in his lone local start he has strengthened up and certainly looked the part Tuesday coming onto the track around 7:15am accompanied as usual by the outrider pony. ‘Chuck’, as he is affectionally called by his owners, had a very happy gallop as he continues to tout himself around the track eon a daily basis.
“We were so happy to be able to run him as a four-year-old and glad we came over here when we did,” assistant trainer Leandro Mora said. “He is doing so good right now, he loves this track. He is very calm and quiet when making the walk to the track in the mornings but as soon as he steps on the track and the rider sits on his back he knows it is go-time and can get a little excited, but in a good way. Although he did give us a little scare last week when he and the pony were bucking and feeling too good by the wire launching himself in the air.”
After a 13-hour flight from Miami, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher and the ownership connections of China Horse Club and WinStar Farm got a chance to see the presumptive World Cup favourite Life Is Good train for the first time at 5am on Tuesday. After backing up to the 1/8 pole the four-year-old cogalloped 1 1/2 miles and, as has been the case all week, he got stronger as the gallop went along. Amelia Green, the only rider who sits on Life Is Good’s back, had to use all her strength to pull him up as he desperately wanted to continue on with his morning trackwork.
“I would be surprised if he wasn’t like that to be honest,” Pletcher said. “Our flight was good and as soon as we arrived last night we went to the stables and saw Life Is Good and we were very happy with what we saw of him. He really looks like he has settled in well. I’ve learned some things over the years of coming here and one of them I think is to do all your work at home. I’ve breezed horses here in the past and I think maybe its been a little counter-productive so we will just have some gallops with him and participate in the night schooling session tonight and go from there.”
Aero Trem’s trainer Antonio Cintra Pereira was happy to let his charge merely canter around the track and has no plans for any kind of serious work this week for the six-year-old Shanghai Bobby entire, who was fifth in the Group 1 Saudi Cup at Riyadh on 26 February.
“Aero Trem is fit and is doing very well. He returned very well from the Saudi Cup and has continued his preparation for the Dubai World Cup and so far everything is going according to plan. So we are looking forward to him running in the big one in five days’ time,” Cintra said.
The Bhupat Seemar-trained Remorse has been one of the more consistent names on the domestic circuit with a win and four runner-up placings in his five starts this term, the last of which was behind fellow Dubai World Cup hope Hypothetical, trained by Salem bin Ghadayer, in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1), which is contested over the same track and trip as the Dubai World Cup.
Remorse galloped a half-mile Monday morning and Seemar was happy with what he saw.
“Remorse is a lovely horse and has gone up from handicaps to Group Ones,” Seemar said. “He’s a very honest horse and with a bit of luck and a good draw anything could happen really. He did a half mile gallop worked in company worked well and looks fit and healthy and is good to go.”
$6 million Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic
In the Dubai Sheema Classic, Charlie Appleby unveils Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Yibir for his first start since Del Mar last November. The four-year-old had a canter on Tuesday and will breeze on Wednesday morning.
“Yibir travelled out with Creative Force about ten days ago and he has adapted well,” Appleby said. “He worked nicely on Saturday morning and has come out of the work well. There’s plenty of strength and depth in the race but he he won’t look out of place in the line-up.”
He added: “He’s done well through the winter. He’s a typical Dubawi and has done well from three to four. He was a big brute anyway as a three-year-old but he has furnished well though the winter.”
Japanese trainer Tetsuya Kimura made his first appearance trackside at Meydan this morning to watch Neom Turf Cup winner Authority, who led the team of international contenders out onto the Meydan dirt at 5am.
“He is in the same condition as Saudi Arabia,” Kimura said. “At Riyadh, the horse had a good start, took control at the beginning and it was a great ride by Christophe (Lemaire), he rode very well as he always does in Japan. He travelled over a couple of days after the Neom Turf Cup and he settled in perfectly, he did his first major work since then last Sunday.
“Of course, this is tough compared to Saudi Arabia but I am honoured to compete against so many trainers that I admire. Year by year, horses from Japan are competing elsewhere trying to increase their value and it is something that I enjoy.”
Kimura, who watched Authority complete a canter of the dirt track before also schooling in the gates, stole hearts with his exuberant celebrations in Saudi Arabia. However, he admitted that he will celebrate in the same manner should the Orfevre entire take the 2400m prize.
“I was criticised by my son for my celebration and so I will stay calm to win his respect back,” he said with a grin.
Two-time Hong Kong Vase winner Glory Vase, who races for the same Silk Racing connections as Authority, completed a canter of the dirt before heading through the tunnel for his first look at the Meydan parade ring.
“His condition is good,” said trainer Tomohito Ozeki. “He’s travelled well and he did some reasonably strong trackwork last weekend. He is used to travelling now and I am hopefully that he will run a good race.”
$1.5 million Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments
Charlie Appleby has a strong hand for the Al Quoz Sprint with three of the 16 starters, including the favourite Man Of Promise, as well as Creative Force and Naval Crown.
Appleby said on Tuesday morning while watching the sale horses in action on the training track for the first Dubai Breeze-up Sale: “Man Of Promise breezed this morning and we were delighted with what we saw from him. The key thing is to get him freshened up after that last run (in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint) – he does go into these races better fresh. So we’ve been quiet with him since his last start on Super Saturday, but we’ve been delighted with what we’ve seen and if he turns up how we think, in the condition he was in on Super Saturday, he’s the horse to beat.”
The Godolphin trainer continued: “Creative Force travelled over well ten days ago and we worked him on Saturday. We were very happy with what we saw. His European campaign is hopefully set for him and it’s hard to say that he’s playing fiddle behind Man Of Promise, because at the end of the day Man Of Promise has done what he’s achieved but Creative Force is a multiple Group winner and a Group 1 winner. He’s probably the class horse in the race realistically, but the other little horse has got the home advantage having been here over the winter, and he’s proven on the track.”
Appleby added: “Naval Crown started the season off here in the Al Fahidi and we took him out to Saudi where he was drawn 14 of 14. He just hit the lids a bit there but he showed a lot of natural pace that day, and he has done that throughout his career to date. In a way this is more of a fact-finding mission as to how we pitch him through the summer. I’m confident he’ll run a big race on what we’ve seen at home, but like I say it is a fact-finding mission.”
Trainer Ado McGuinness was on the training track at 6am to watch A Case Of You in action.
The Irish trainer said: “He did a lovely bit of work this morning on the grass at the training track with his regular jockey Ronan Whelan. We were thrilled to bits with that. I think we have him where we want him for the Al Quoz. He will improve from his last run when he was second to Man Of Promise on Super Saturday but we will need to get closer to that horse, he was over four lengths ahead of us! But I think he has a few pounds of improvement in him, the prep has gone well and he has settled in well to Dubai, much more settled than he was for his first run here. All going well I believe he can earn a big cheque.”
$1 million Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors
Despite fielding the likes of Yibir and Man Of Promise on Dubai World Cup day, Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby feels that his best chance may come in the Dubai Gold Cup with Manobo, winner of the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (G3) on this last start.
“I’m delighted with Manobo,” he said. “He’s an unbeaten son of Sea The Stars. He looked fantastic this morning and he’s an exciting horse. I don’t think he’s the type of out-and-out stayer who would end up being a Gold Cup horse back in Europe, but on what we’ve seen here he was very impressive on his only start. He did have a weight advantage there but he has come out of the race well and he will go off a worthy favourite.”
He added: “Manobo cantered this morning (Tuesday) and he will breeze tomorrow.”
Alignak’s trainer Jamie Osborne reported his charge to be in good heart after a light canter on the training track on Tuesday morning. The six-year-old has been in Dubai through the winter, most recently hitting the frame in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday.
And Osborne revealed that Alignak will be kept to a light schedule ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 contest. He said: “He’s in good heart and I was pleased with him this morning. He’s been here since the start of January now, so he’ll do very little between now and the weekend.”
Joseph O’Brien, trainer of Baron Samedi, reported that the five-year-old had travelled over to Dubai well. He said: “He ran very well in Riyadh when fourth in the Red Sea Turf Handicap. We think the bigger track and the longer straight at Meydan will be to his liking. Obviously it is a very competitive race but he is there in good nick and we are hoping he can collect some prize-money.”
$1 million Group 2 UAE Derby Sponsored by Mubadala
First on the track during the 7am training session on Tuesday, Get Back Goldie made a favourable impression as he cantered around the dirt track. The three-year-old Goldencents homebred colt has been at Meydan racecourse since mid-January and seems to handle everything well for trainer Doug O’Neill and staff. A winner in his first carnival race on February 4, going 1200 metres, he went next to the Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday at the UAE Derby distance of 1900 metres, and was defeated just 5 1/2 lengths.
Assistant trainer Leandro Mora is confident Get Back Goldie can make up the needed ground Saturday. He said: “Not knowing which race we were going to run him back we did a lot of jogging going into the last race. Since that race, we have prepared him well with the UAE Derby in mind with a lot of strong gallops, and we really liked how he breezed Saturday over the track. We are also very excited to secure the services of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr, who we really think is going to fit this horse.”
Quality Boone goes into the UAE Derby having won the race’s Super Saturday equivalent, the Al Bastakiya (Listed), which is contested over an identical 1900m trip. Quality Boone cantered at Meydan Monday morning and his trainer Antonio Cintra Pereira is hopeful after seeing the three-year-old Daniel Boone colt go through the motions during his canter.
Cintra said: “Quality Boone has definitely come forward from his last run, which he won well with a good strong finish. He’s trained well in the days since the race and is looking good heading into the UAE Derby. So we remain hopeful of a good performance from him as he seems to like conditions here.”
UAE Derby hope Irwin joined trainer Antonio Cintra Pereira’s yard in January and overcame a bout of shipping fever which left him out of action for a month. The Seek Again colt resumed training in February and his conditioner said he is happy with what he’s seen him do. “Irwin is a very good colt in Argentina and I came to know him in Dubai because he arrived here in January to join us. When he arrived there were some health problems so we couldn’t take him to the track but since he started racing he’s done well and his last breeze was fantastic. I am confident of entering him. He went out to the track Tuesday morning and we just had him cantering and enjoying the weather. He’s been doing all that is asked of him, so we are hopeful.”
Dubai Racing Club Press Release