Ahead of Saturday's $12 million, Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse, the Dubai Racing Club provided notes and quotes about starters in races on the undercard. (See notes from the Dubai World Cup here.)
$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)
Berkshire Rocco (FR) - The Andrew Balding-trained English St Leger runner-up accompanied stable companion Spanish Mission again this morning.
"Both horses did a lap and a half of the training track this morning at a sensible canter," stable representative Maddy O’Meara reported. "I led Berkshire Rocco on Spanish Moon and Claudia Metaireau who rides Berkshire Rocco is thrilled with how he has settled in here."
Chrono Genesis (JPN) - Galloped over the turf track with jockey Yuichi Kitamura on board.
"I picked up from the third bend and drove her comfortably to bring out her flexibility, without having too strong a breeze in the stretch," said Kitamura.
"It was my first ride on the turf track at Meydan, and the ground seems to be firmer than I expected. I thought it would be more cushioned but the grass itself is in really good condition. The ground won’t be her issue anyway. I am very proud of how well she has travelled for the first time with a long flight. She feels really good and is settling in well at the quarantine barn.”
Loves Only You (JPN) - The daughter of Deep Impact worked on the dirt track under jockey Oisin Murphy at 5am.
"I have asked Oisin to get a feel for her and he said she was very fresh and sound," said trainer Yoshito Yahagi.
"I want her to put on a bit more weight as she lost some weight while she was isolated in Japan. But her flight experience last year when she came to Dubai helped her a lot this time. Since she arrived in Dubai, she has settled in well and her appetite has been back, and I hope she keeps improving her condition for Saturday’s race. Oisin will give her a gallop either on dirt or turf tomorrow. He can choose whichever he likes."
Mishriff (IRE) - The 4-year-old put in an appearance on Meydan’s turf course this morning, following his visit to the training track on Monday.
"Mishriff just had a spin around the turf track with Lord North," said Thady Gosden, who holds a joint training licence with father John in Britain. "David Egan, who rides him in Saturday’s race, will sit on him later in the week.
"We thought the turf track was in brilliant condition, it’s been watered well and is a great credit to everyone at Meydan."
Mogul (GB) - Two-time Group 1 winner Mogul left Ireland on Monday and was settling in to his new surroundings on Tuesday morning.
"Mogul had a little break after Hong Kong and it was always the plan to come to Dubai then so he was back in work a little earlier. He seems in good form and left Ballydoyle yesterday and just had an easy morning today," trainer Aidan O’Brien said.
Simsir (IRE) - The winner of the Bahrain International Trophy in November continues to please trainer Fawzi Nass, who said: "He worked well on the all-weather training track on Monday so it is all systems go. He won our big international race in Bahrain which was very special for us so it would be nice to win a big turf race in Dubai for Bahrain to add to that. It is a tough race though!"
Star Safari (GB) – Winner of the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes here last month, the son of Sea The Stars breezed on Saturday at Godolphin’s Marmoom Stables.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: "He’s a horse with not much mileage on the clock and an unexposed profile going in an upward curve. He held the track record over 2000m here last year. The step up to 2400m will suit, we are essentially testing him to see what he is capable of in the future."
Walton Street (GB) - Winner of his last three starts over the trip, Walton Street had his final piece of work last Saturday ahead of racing this weekend and was reported to have gone very well.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: "He has always shown his best form in Dubai – the conditions and track suit him. He broke the 2400m track record in his last two starts here. He has come out well from his win in the Dubai City of Gold, which is a nice trial to win and go into the Sheema on. He will give a good account of himself but needs to step up."
$4 million Dubai Turf (G1)
Court House (IRE) and Epic Hero (FR) - The Simon and Ed Crisford partnership train the pair, who have been based in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup Carnival since January.
The two completed a nice easy breeze over 1200m together with head lad Dan Hutchinson on Epic Hero and Ryan Powell on Court House.
"Both worked very well this morning, they are fit and ready and we couldn’t be happier with them." Simon Crisford said: “Court House has run extremely well on the Meydan turf in his last two starts so we are hopeful he can run another consistent race. He’s training well and enjoys racing up with the pace.
"Epic Hero has done very well since his first Carnival race and we are hopeful he can run a nice race. Obviously, he will need to improve on his best form, but he deserves to take his chance."
Eqtiraan (IRE) - The 7-year-old Helmet gelding has been in good form this season with three placings and a domestic event success to show for his seven starts. He followed a handicap win by turning in a ninth behind David O’Meara’s Lord Glitters in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes and did even better when producing what was perhaps a career-best performance that saw him nearly clinch the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday. Lord Glitters denied him again on that occasion, surging ahead in the last 200m to win by a half-length.
Eqtiraan’s trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi reported him to be in solid shape after a canter at Meydan on Tuesday with the Emirati schooler looking to send him out to breeze on Thursday.
"Eqtiraan ran a good race and seems to have improved and come forward from that run so we are very much looking forward to running him in the Dubai Turf. He is a happy horse who is doing well and training well. He came out well from the Jebel Hatta and has improved all along," Al Rayhi said
Felix (GB) - Group 3 Winter Derby Stakes runner-up Felix tested the turf track on Tuesday morning with trainer Marco Botti’s wife, Lucie Botti, in the saddle.
She said: "I went a lap around. He seemed nice and relaxed. He had a little jump coming into the straight, feeling happy.
"During the first couple of days he needed to get to know his box and his new surroundings. Now I think it’s easier, he is taking everything really well. I couldn’t be happier with him.
Felix is expected to frequent the turf two more times including a possible breeze, tentatively scheduled on Thursday.
First Contact (IRE) - Assistant trainer to Satish Seemar, nephew Bhupat Seemar, said that First Contact was in good shape.
"He did his last bit of work on Monday and we were very pleased with him," he said. "The race is a little bit of a tall order for him – he’s rated 108 and running against some proper horses, but he was second by a head in a Group 2 (the Zabeel Mile) this season. He deserves a chance."
Glen Force (IRE) - Trainer Fawzi Nass, who bought the 4-year-old out of Sir Mark Prescott's stable in October, said: "A real unknown in a quality field having progressed from ‘solid, hardy handicapper’ into a potential international star.
"Obviously we did very well with Krypton Factor, winning the Golden Shaheen and other races, who we purchased from Sir Mark Prescott, so we hope lightning can strike twice."
Lord Glitters (FR) - In preparation for his fourth start in Dubai this year, Lord Glitters took to the turf training track this morning. The Group 1 Jebel Hatta winner quickened nicely to conclude his fast work for the week.
Trainer David O’Meara said: "Lord Glitters did a nice breeze over 400m on the grass this morning. That will be his final piece of fast work before the weekend and he is in good order."
Lord North (IRE) - Following a visit to the Tapeta training track on Monday, he worked on Meydan’s turf course in the company of stablemate Mishriff.
Regal Reality (GB) - After working on the Meydan turf course on Monday, the 6-year-old went around the turf training track just after 8am.
Speaking from his Freemason Lodge Stables in Newmarket, trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: "We are just freshening him up and will take him out on the training track most mornings ahead of Saturday's race. He seems to have settled in well at Meydan and we are pleased with how he's travelled over."
Vin De Garde (JPN) - Cantered for two laps on the dirt track under the assistant to Hideaki Fujiwara, Kazuo Fujiwara. He is scheduled to gallop with jockey Yuichi Kitamura on dirt tomorrow.
$1.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1)
Copano Kicking (USA) - Winner of the Riyadh Dirt Sprint last month, the son of Spring At Last worked in the trotting ring at the quarantine stable area. He will come onto the dirt track tomorrow.
Jalen Journey (USA) - While new to the Steve Asmussen barn, Jalen Journey has been quick to impress his connections. The 6-year-old calmly walked onto the track before his breeze on Monday morning under his regular rider.
"He finished up his work in good form. Carlos (the exercise rider) said he went really well,” said assistant trainer, Scott Blasi.
Jalen Journey has placed in 3 of 4 Graded races, including a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar at the 1200m distance.
Jalen Journey remained in the barn area on Tuesday morning and is expected to return to the track and school in the starting gate later this week.
Justin (JPN) - Looked very fresh and happy when he cantered on the dirt track under jockey Ryusei Sakai.
Trainer Yoshito Yahagi said: "He has definitely switched on. I will not do bullet works with him tomorrow as he put in a strong gallop in terms of both speed and the amount of work he needs last week. I think he is already fit and ready. My focus with him is not to be over-excited towards the race."
Matera Sky (USA) - Has been in Dubai since last month after finishing runner-up in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint. Explored the the paddock ring before cantering for one and a half laps over the dirt track with jockey Keita Tosaki on board. Connections are happy with his condition.
Red Le Zele (JPN) - Trainer Takayuki Yasuda, who won the Hong Kong Sprint with Lord Kanaloa's son Danon Smash in December, has another big stable hope by the sire in Red Le Zele. He worked easily on the dirt track.
Work rider Keisuke Fujimaki said: "Everything has gone well so far. He is getting more familiarised with the surroundings. Jockey Yuichi Kitamura will give him a breeze on dirt tomorrow."
Switzerland (USA) and Gladiator King (USA) - Gladiator King suffered a foot abscess that interrupted his training and will not run.
Switzerland galloped under Tadhg O’Shea on Monday and bids to follow in the footsteps of Reynaldothewizard, who won the race for trainer Satish Seemar in 2013.
"Switzerland has done his last bit of work ahead of the race and we were pleased with him," said Bhupat Seemar, assistant trainer at Zabeel Stables in Dubai.
"This horse has really done nothing wrong all season. He’s a 7-year-old and we’ve only had him since January but he won the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes first out for us and then shipped out to run fourth in the dirt sprint in Riyadh so he’s an exciting horse for us."
Wildman Jack (USA) - W C Racing’s Wildman Jack had an easy day of jogging at the international quarantine area on Tuesday. The Doug O’Neill trainee had blown out 600m in 38s on Monday.
"We jogged all three of ours and didn’t go to the main track," said Leandro Mora, assistant trainer. "We went on the little quarantine track. Tomorrow I’m going to take him to the main track. He's doing great."
Mora, who also accompanied the dual-surface G3 winner to Dubai in 2020, said he prefers post seven or eight. Locally based Fernando Jara has the mount.
Yaupon (USA) - Fresh off of a 600-meter breeze on Monday morning, Yaupon remained in the barn area during Tuesday training. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who is due to arrive in Dubai on Wednesday morning, reflected on the colt’s trackwork.
"He blew out in 37.2 seconds. It was exactly what we wanted," said Blasi.
Despite being a 3-year-old facing older horses, Yaupon was thrown into the deep end in the 2020 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
"He got away very poorly in the Breeders’ Cup. We put him in a position he had never been in before when stepping up to face older horses in a Grade 1," Blasi explained.
Minus the Breeders’ Cup, Yaupon is undefeated in four races at the 1200m distance.
Blasi said: "As long as he stands up and breaks well from the starting gate, he’ll be very competitive. He’s a really talented horse."
Zenden (USA) - Trainer Carlos David was thrilled with the latest breeze of his entry, Zenden, on Tuesday morning.
"I was really happy. The idea was to do an open gallop, a 'two-minute lick' in 1:58 with the last 600m in 38 seconds. He did it in 37.1 seconds. I think he handled it really well. He was breathing a little heavier coming back to the barn, so I think he needed the blowout," said David.
The Dubai Golden Shaheen will be the first Group 1 test for Zenden. David has trained the chestnut since December 2019. In that time, the horse has earned two victories, including his most recent start in the Pelican Stakes, both in gate to wire fashion. But while his aggressive speed has been an asset, it has also proven to be one of his more difficult qualities for training.
David explained: "For his breeze today he was wearing a ring bit, which is what he uses for the race. I didn’t put blinkers on because that would have made him too keen this morning. He will run in them on Saturday. I need him to be sharp during the race."
With a focus on fitness and forwardness, David outlined his plan for Zenden leading up to Saturday.
"I think when you walk them the day after the breeze they are too high strung and excited. We’ll probably just take him to the training track or jogging track tomorrow."
$1 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1)
Acklam Express (IRE) - Acklam Express has done well both times he’s run in Dubai. He debuted on the turf chute in the Group 2 Meydan Sprint over 1000m, a race in which his solid late burst carried him to within touching distance as he finished a length behind winner Equilateral. His second outing in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint saw him battle to third behind Godolphin’s Final Song. It was the 3-year-old Mehmas gelding’s first time over 1200m.
At Meydan’s training track on Tuesday, Acklam Express was made to breeze on turf under rider Rowan Scott and put in a performance that has his trainer Nigel Tinkler suitably impressed.
Speaking from his base in the UK, Tinkler said: "Acklam Express worked this morning and he worked very nicely as he followed Lord Glitters during his gallop. He has been doing very well in Dubai and seems to like it there."
Cowan (USA) - The only horse from the Steve Asmussen barn not to breeze on Monday morning was Cowan.
"We worked him on Saturday on the grass. He breezed 600m and he did it nicely," said assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
The chestnut colt put in a relaxed jog on Monday morning and schooled in the gate at 5.45am on Tuesday.
Blasi explained: "He stood very relaxed at the starting gate this morning, which was important. He broke very poorly in the Saudi Derby but was still able to finish a really nice second. He was unlucky not to win that one."
Cowan will turn back to sprinting on grass on Saturday. The decision to not continue on the Derby trail was due in part to the multiple stakes placings of this colt on grass, including a game second in the 2020 Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
"I just don’t think his best distance is 1600 meters and his speed ratings on grass are even better than they are on dirt. I really like the 1200 meters for him," said Blasi.
Equilateral (GB) - Paid his regular visit to the training track under work-rider Nicola Dowell.
Extravagant Kid (USA) - Once again gave a good impression of himself on Tuesday morning, galloping a circuit of the dirt track under Charlie Lynch.
The nearly black 8-year-old gelding will be making his 50th start on Saturday in the turf dash. Trained by Brendan Walsh for DARRS Inc., he has finished in the top three 36 times, including 14 victories and eight stakes wins. He has finished second in five of his past six efforts. Four starts back, he was fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Walsh’s lone Dubai World Cup night starter was Plus Que Parfait, who won the 2019 UAE Derby.
Khaadem (IRE) - Worked on the turf training track under big-race pilot Jim Crowley and trainer Charlie Hills is hopeful that Saturday can kickstart a productive season for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 5-year-old.
"We think he’s a very talented horse as he showed when he was fourth in two Group 1s last season,” said Hills, speaking from his stables in Britain. "He lost weight after the July Cup and then the ground went against us later in the season.
"He went to Shadwell Stud for a break and has thrived over the winter, he’s come back a lot heavier. This has been the plan since the end of last season, we knew he’d get his ground here, and hopefully he should have a good year."
Moss Gill (IRE) - Edward Bethell’s star sprinter undertook his first outing at Meydan on the training track on Monday and was at it again on Tuesday morning. He cantered along the same surface and looked sound as he went through the motions, running steadily during his workout.
Bethell said: "Moss Gill has travelled over really well and all reports have been very good. We are very happy with him and I think he’s thriving out there in the heat. We expect a big run from him on Saturday.
"He’s been working only on the training track and it’s just been a steady canter all along. All of his fitness work has been done and he’s just ticking nicely going into the race."
Space Blues (IRE) - Winner of last year’s Prix Maurice De Gheest and the highest-rated horse in the field, he breezed last Saturday along with Charlie Appleby’s other runners for the main race day.
"He’s an ultra-consistent campaigner coming in on the back of a win in Saudi," Appleby said. "He had one disappointing run over 1200m at Meydan last year but dropping back to the trip on the straight course is not a worry for us now. He’s the horse to beat."
Speak In Colours (IRE) - After enjoying quite an easy morning on Monday, Speak In Colours returned to exercise on Tuesday as rider MJ Doran slightly increased his work.
Doran said: "We just upped things a little with Speak In Colours this morning and he did two steady canters on the main track and was very well in himself. He is a very straightforward horse to deal with and do anything with and travelling doesn’t bother him. He’s loving it here."
True Valour (IRE) - Ventured out to the track this morning, with assistant trainer Cat McGee overseeing his preparation.
"He went for a jog. Just to kind of have an easy day today and still go out and move. He was feeling good," McGee said.
The son of Kodiac joined the team at Graham Motion’s Herringswell Stables in the summer of 2020 and has truly blossomed when being campaigned over shorter distances.
$750,000 Godolphin Mile (G2)
Avant Garde (USA) - Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile runner-up Avant Garde worked on the dirt track this morning, with assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. watching on from the apron.
"I’m really pleased with what I saw today. Better than the last couple of days. We wanted him to do an open gallop and he seemed to like it." Delgado said.
Avant Garde is in the very capable hands of rider Pedro Velez, who is employed by trainer Dallas Stewart.
Delgado added: "He (Velez) came here with Seeking the Soul and Forever Unbridled. He knows the drill. It’s his third year here. I wanted that guy (to ride my horse). The feedback he gave me is that this horse is feeling really good. That is what we’ve been seeing in the morning as well."
A poised Delgado goes into Saturday with realistic expectations.
"We do the best we can and control what we can control. The rest, it’s horse racing.”
Dieu Du Vin (JPN) - Cantered for 400m before working tandem with his yard mate Takeru Pegasus for 1000m at the pace of about 12 seconds for the last 200m.
"I wanted to get a feel for him with his work today, because he did almost all he needed to before we brought him here," said the exercise rider Hideaki Asar
"He moved nicely and picked up smoothly by himself. He is in very good condition now. The wide 15 gate is very welcome as he has no worry about being trapped. He will be able to show his staying power when he picks up with his own pace."
Parsimony (USA) - Reddam Racing’s Doug O’Neill-trained Parsimony came out of his Monday 600-meter breeze in 37 seconds in good shape, per assistant trainer Leandro Mora. He jogged at the international quarantine track on Tuesday morning.
"I was always dreaming of bringing him here to the Dubai World Cup, but we got here for the Godolphin Mile, so that we can see if he’s good enough to hopefully qualify for the Dubai World Cup next year," he said.
William Buick takes the ride on Saturday.
Secret Ambition (GB), Roman Rosso (ARG), Tuz (USA), Rodaini (USA) - Satish Seemar, trainer at Zabeel Stables in Dubai, sends out four runners drawn in close proximity in stalls 10 (Rodaini), 11 (Roman Rosso), 12 (Secret Ambition) and 14 (Urban Icon).
Secret Ambition is having his third Godolphin Mile run and will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, with his most recent result being a fifth in 2019.
"All the horses galloped on Monday apart from Rodaini, who won the Jebel Ali Classic on Friday. He knows what it’s all about and is very experienced," said assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar.
"Roman Rosso is a multiple Group 1 winner and is really coming into himself this season. Sometimes the South American horses just take a little while to adjust. Tuz is also a talented horse and has won his races in Russia by half a racecourse. I couldn’t pick our best chance to be honest as they are all doing very well."
Ryan Moore rides Roman Rosso while Pat Cosgrave is on Rodaini and Antonio Fresu will ride Tuz.
Snapper Sinclair (USA) - Put in his final breeze on Monday morning. "He worked 800m in 49.2 seconds. He did it really well by himself. It was a good move for him," said assistant trainer, Scott Blasi.
The 6-year-old horse has earned over $1 million in 30 career races run over both dirt and turf.
Blasi remarked: "I don’t think he cares what he runs over. He just tries hard every time he runs. He’s a versatile horse when it comes to both surface and running style. He can be on the lead but he doesn’t have to be."
After walking in the barn on Tuesday morning, Snapper Sinclair is expected to return to the dirt track and school in the starting gate later this week.
"We won’t have to do much with him leading up to the race. He’s fit and he trains aggressively. The allowance race he won last time out was a great preparation for this race," said Blasi.
Urban Icon (GB) - Looked to be in fine spirits this morning under the lights of the training track as he stretched his legs in a gentle hack on his first day out of quarantine stables.
Trainer Saud Alkahtani is happy with the horse’s preparation. "We did slightly change the training plan for the horse by working him last Friday to fit in with shipping," the trainer said. "He has had a couple of easy days since and seems to be enjoying his surroundings here in Dubai. He looked good this morning and moved well. Oisin Murphy will sit on him tomorrow and Friday morning."
$750,000 UAE Derby (G2)
Ambivalent (USA) - Reddam Racing’s Doug O’Neill-trained Ambivalent came out of his Monday breeze in good shape, according to assistant trainer Leandro Mora.
"He jogged at the little quarantine track today," Mora said. "He came out of his work OK."
Ambivalent has drawn post eight of 14 sophomores, which Mora considered ideal. Top U.S.-based jockey Luis Saez, making his UAE debut on Saturday, rides the son of Constitution who is seeking points for the Kentucky Derby.
France Go De Ina (USA) -The yard mate of Pink Kamehameha will be lining up for the first time outside of Japan. He explored the paddock ring and cantered for one and a half laps on the dirt track.
Assistant to Hideyuki Mori, Masaki Takano, said: "Everything has been under control. He feels very good. He will gallop abreast Matera Sky tomorrow."
Lugamo (USA) – A picture of consistency, Lugamo, was out for a light gallop at 5am on Tuesday. The colt concluded his trackwork with a schooling session in the starting gate as assistant trainer, Alessandro Sano, looked on.
"We jogged the opposite way to the finish line and then galloped a lap and a half to the 1000m marker," he said. "At the end of the workout, we went to the gate to school him a little bit to go in and outside of the gate. He’s a very calm horse. Nothing bothers him and we like that. He loaded into the gate and backed up perfectly. That’s what we like to see because he’s a front runner, so he needs that good gate mentality."
Lugamo will breeze on Wednesday morning and will work in his racing equipment, which includes blinkers and a figure-8 noseband.
"We’re going to let him do a little bit of an open gallop. It’s not going to be too strong of a breeze. It’s just to let him get a better feel of the track. He just wants to take off. We’ll be looking for 600 to 800m, depending on how he comes back to the barn today and how he relaxes. Then, we’ll make the decision tomorrow morning," Sano said.
New Treasure (IRE) - The 3-year-old finished third on his first start for trainer John Gosden in last month’s Saudi Derby and will again run on dirt in Saturday’s UAE Derby, when he will be partnered by Frankie Dettori.
He had his first try on Meydan’s dirt track this morning and connections seemed happy. "We just cantered him around the dirt track and he seemed to handle the surface well," said Thady Gosden, who shares a training licence with his father in Britain.
Pink Kamehameha (JPN) - Will appear his second time on a dirt track in his young career on Saturday. Went to the paddock ring for schooling and cantered for one and a half laps over the dirt track. The assistant for Hideyuki Mori, Masaki Takano, said: "He is feeling really good and is sharpening up towards the race. He will breeze tomorrow.
"He has not received a luck of the draw in 14. My only concern is the first corner comes shortly after the start, but it’s good for him not to be crowded on the outside."
Takeru Pegasus (JPN) - Had a warm-up canter for 400m before breezing accompanied by his yard mate Dieu Du Vin for 1000m at the pace of about 12s for the last 200m.
Work rider Hideaki Asari said: "He has kept good condition since he has left Japan. He was breathing well during the breeze and moved as good as I expected.
"The gate 7 is very suitable for him, watching horses on both sides of him. If he runs with his rhythm, the draw is not his concern."
$750,000 Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1)
Af Alwajel (UAE) - The 6-year-old finished third in the PA Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 over 2000m in February, an event that mirrors conditions for Saturday. It was his first attempt at tackling the trip and Brraq proved too strong, just like he was when beating him in Round 1 of the Series a month earlier over a shorter 1600m trip.
Af Alwajel’s rider Tadhg O’Shea, though, is pretty confident of a better show after riding him during his last workout on Sunday, a practice run in which he did all he will be asked to do at the weekend.
O’Shea reported: "We are very happy that we have drawn stall one. The last time he ran it was the first time he was going over a mile and a quarter (2,000 meters) and we feel he’ll improve for it.
"He’s trained well and is looking good. We did his last workout on Sunday over the trip of the race and he cantered and picked up as he entered the stretch. So he is doing well."
Al Zahir (FR) - Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-schooled Al Zahir hasn’t run on dirt in two years, but his Emirati handler doesn’t see that as a barrier to him performing well after seeming pleased with his canter on Tuesday morning. The 8-year-old son of Madjani will have Jim Crowley up, their partnership winning the PA Group 1 HH The President Cup over 2200m on Abu Dhabi’s turf track.
Al Zahir put in another strong performance at the same venue when taking second in the Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown in December under Dane O’Neill.
Al Rayhi said: "We are expecting a good run from him on Saturday. He has done very well in top company and was second in the Sheikh Zayed Jewel Crown race and we feel he is good to return to dirt. He has shown good form on dirt in the past and he looks happy and fresh.”
A breeze is in store for Al Zahir during his last workout on Thursday.
Deryan (FR) - Like all the French horses, Deryan travelled over to Dubai on Friday and spent the weekend in quarantine before coming onto the dirt track on Monday morning, where he did a slow canter. It was a routine he repeated on Tuesday morning.
"He only just ran in Riyadh," explained his trainer Didier Guillemin. "So it’s a question of keeping him nice and loose. He travelled over really well and my daughter who looks after him said he was in better form than last time when he went to Riyadh. I guess he is getting used to the travelling."
Hajres (TUN) - Following a trip to Saudi Arabia, the Elisabeth Bernard-trained Hajres arrived in Dubai on Friday and seemed in very good form on Tuesday morning when he came onto the dirt track at Meydan.
"Yes, he has travelled really well," said his trainer, who was on the way to the airport to make her way to Dubai. "He is full of himself and in really good form. Everyone is happy with him. I think with age they just get used to travelling and take it in their stride. He jogged for a round this morning and then did another round cantering."
Mutawakel Al Khalediah (KSA) and Mubasher Al Khalediah (KSA) - Stepped onto the training track this morning for an easy canter under Dubai World Cup winning jockey Fernando Jara and Jesus Rosales respectively. Both were in fine form during the earliest quarantine slot at 4 a.m.
Trainer Mutlaq Bin Mishriff said: "They both ran super races in the Obaiya Arabian Classic last month, they have settled in here well and hacked nicely around the training track this morning. We’re happy with where they’ve been drawn. Looking forward to another good run from both on Saturday."
Mashhur Al Khalediah (KSA) - The Philip Collington-trained Masshur Al Khalediah arrived in Dubai on Friday evening and after walking in the quarantine yard over the weekend, he came out onto the dirt track on Monday and Tuesday.
"He travelled well and came out onto the dirt track on Monday morning, where he just had a very light canter," explained his trainer. "He came out with some of the other British horses like Mekong and came out again this morning and did a nice canter and yeah, he feels well. They said they are very pleased with him."
$750,000 Dubai Gold Cup (G2)
Mekong (GB) - Owner Khalid Mishriff, speaking from his home in Riyadh, will unfortunately not be able to travel to see Mekong on Saturday. "I’m very much looking forward to seeing Mekong run this weekend, unfortunately it will have to be on TV this time as travel from Saudi is difficult these days," he said.
"The race maybe just wasn’t run to suit him the last day here (Red Sea Turf Handicap) but he came out of the race fine. He went back to the UK, Jamie freshened him up and did a great job getting him back here in good form.
"We think he is more than capable of representing himself very well on Saturday. Jim Crowley rides, he knows the horse well, has won on him and is obviously very good around Meydan. Jamie’s head lad Jimmy McCarthy is here with the horse doing a wonderful job and now we just need some luck on our side for Saturday."
Spanish Mission (USA) – Spanish Mission, who will be the mount of Ryan Moore, returned to the training track this morning with stable companion Berkshire Rocco.
Maddy O’Meara, who travelled to Saudi Arabia with Spanish Mission last month, said: "Spanish Mission felt good. Both horses did a lap and a half of the training track this morning at a sensible canter. The plan is for both Spanish Mission and Berkshire Rocco to go to the main turf track tomorrow (Wednesday) morning."
Subjectivist (GB) - A Group 1 winner last October in France, the 4-year-old son of Teofilo will be the youngest horse in the field this Saturday. Trainer Mark Johnston will fly to Dubai on Wednesday to oversee the final preparations.
"All is fine with Subjectivist," Johnston reported. "He arrived on Friday spent a couple of days walking around the quarantine barn and yesterday was his first day on the track. He is in good form and we will just have a couple of easy days on the track. We will change his exercise rider on Thursday morning but he still won’t need to do anything other than what he has been doing. I look forward to seeing him on Thursday morning."