Dubai-based Capezzano expected to wheel back in Saudi Cup

Dubai-based Capezzano expected to wheel back in Saudi Cup
Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen

Sultan Ali’s Group 1-winning Capezzano, among the top market choices in last year’s $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1), will return to action Thursday for the yard of Salem bin Ghadayer in the Group 3, $200,000 Firebreak Stakes.

The one-mile event could then lead him to a pair of lucrative races second and third off the bench.

At the end of the day, he was invited to Saudi Cup, and it’s only two weeks until that race, but he will need the race and I think the two weeks is enough time for recover," said Bin Ghadayer, with the $20 million race set for Feb. 29. “I think he can be 100% for Saudi and then (the March 28) Dubai World Cup, but this race will not be an easy race.

“We will go and try to win this race, but we must be very careful with him and his mentality. We have tried to keep him happy and relaxed, which is not easy, but he has trained and galloped well and he’s healthy and sound."

Capezzano, a son of Bernardini, was a one-sided winner of a pair of mile handicaps last Dubai World Cup Carnival by a combined 16¼ lengths before dismissing
 Thunder Snow by 9 ½ lengths in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1) over 1 1/4 miles. However, he went on to finish last in the Dubai World Cup in his most-recent appearance.

“I delayed this horse and didn’t use him at all in training until the end of September,” Bin Ghadayer said. “He’s a Bernardini, is always keen, and I made a program for him that is just February and March to keep his big performances saved for the big nights. Last year, he ran in a mile handicap and won just two weeks before he won Round 3.”

It will be an off-the-layoff baptism by fire for the bay gelding, but Bin Ghadayer will have reserves in the HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned duo of 2018 winner Heavy Metal and the consistent Matterhorn, a listed winner looking to transfer his solid all-weather form to the sandier Meydan dirt course on UAE debut.

Heavy Metal, the 2018 Godolphin Mile (G2) winner, looks to improve upon two lackluster last-place performances to open his 10-year-old season in stakes company. But he'll go over a course and distance where he's won eight times previously.

All must go through course record-owning defending champ Muntazah, as well as a diverse cast of swift foes, including multiple Grade 2 winner Quip, a Dubai newcomer.

“He doesn’t need the lead and does not have any problem (rating), but it’s the kickback he does not like,” Bin Ghadayer said of Heavy Metal. “He’ll be around the front and we won’t change anything about him. He has a good draw. If he jumps and takes the lead, he will be very tough, but this is not an easy race with Muntazah and Ambassadorial in there.

“Heavy Metal will be fast. For me, if he shows his form, he will be fine. I won’t give up him yet and at the end of the day, he’s doing well. I know he didn’t show it in the last two races, but it’s normal and I hope he comes back up (to form) again. Maybe that will happen in the Firebreak.

"If I saw him fall away from his form at home, I wouldn’t run him. He has given me a lot of things and deserves special care. I believe in his ability.”

Matterhorn will try dirt in a race for the first time but has given his connections confidence with his training.  

“He trains well and deals very well with the dirt,” Bin Ghadayer said. “For me, he did well over a mile and 10 furlongs in England and his program is (focused on) Super Saturday (March 7) and will follow that. I think he will make a big name for himself. He has a lot of quality and class.”

2020 Firebreak Stakes (G3)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.
RankSilksHorse / SireRatingTrainer / JockeyLast StartStatus
Saint Anddan
D. Watson
S. Hitchcott
4th, 2020 Handicap 
Raven's Pass
S. Ghadayer
R. Ffrench
4th, 2019 Darley Stakes (G3) 
 Secret Ambition
Exceed And Excel
S. Seemar
T. O'Shea
2nd, 2020 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 1 (G2) 
 Fight On
Into Mischief
D. O'Neill
P. Cosgrave
3rd, 2020 Handicap 
S. Ghadayer
M. Barzalona
12th, 2019 Dubai World Cup (G1) 
D. Watson
J. Crowley
4th, 2020 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 1 (G2) 
 Heavy Metal
Exceed And Excel
S. Ghadayer
X. Ziani
7th, 2020 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 1 (G2) 
 Walking Thunder
A. Harmash
C. Beasley
8th, 2020 Dubawi Stakes (G3) 
Elusive Quality
J. Chapple-Hyam
J. Egan
2nd, 2020 Handicap 
Distorted Humor
D. Watson
P. Dobbs
6th, 2019 Lukas Classic Stakes (G3) 

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