Jordan Sport – Continued his build-up to Saturday’s big race with a gentle workout at Al Quoz. The speedster is drawn highest, something that concerns trainer Fawzi Nass.
“We’ve just been hacking him over five furlongs this week, just ticking over and there’s not long to go now,” Nass said. “He’s in good form but it’s just the draw that is a worry.”
Matera Sky – Was brought out on the dirt track for a light canter. “He is doing well and seems to like the surface. I’m happy with the out post, since there are not a lot of horses in the race, it should be fine. Hopefully we can hit the lead early,” trainer Hideyuki Mori said.
Mind Your Biscuits – As expected, Mind Your Biscuits remained in the barn on Friday just being hand walked. A day out from his chance in defending his title, trainer Chad Summers said: “All we have to do now is keep him happy.”
Reynaldothewizard – No trainer beyond the Godolphin personnel, Mike de Kock and Doug Watson has sent out more Dubai World Cup meeting runners than Satish Seemar, yet he only has a single winner from 48 representatives, with Reynaldothewizard in the 2013 Dubai Golden Shaheen as reward for his commitment.
Tomorrow, the old-stager himself is among five horses from Zabeel Stables with a chance of improving the score. He makes his fifth appearance in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, and a duo of late withdrawals means he faces just seven rivals.
Third over course and distance in both starts this season, Reynaldothewizard’s most recent effort convinced Seemar that he retains sufficient ability to be competitive, even at the age of 12.
Reporting after Friday’s final easy work-out, Seemar said: “Reynaldo seems to have got an extra spring in his step since his last piece of serious exercise on Monday. He’s alert and fresh, and I’m very happy with him.”
Roy H – Following trainer Peter Miller’s game plan, American champion sprinter Roy H remained in the quarantine area for light exercise on Friday morning. The 6-year-old breezed 600m over the Meydan dirt track on Tuesday and has stayed in the barn area for jogging since that move.
X Y Jet – Trainer Jorge Navarro opted to keep speedy X Y Jet in the quarantine area for the third consecutive morning. He said the multiple Graded stakes winner has done enough preparation and is ready to run again in the race following his second-place effort in the 2016 edition.
$1 million Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1)
Blue Point – The Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) third from Royal Ascot was second behind Ertijaal in the Meydan Sprint Sponsored by District One Greenery Stretch (Group 2) only his only start at Meydan this year.
The 4-year-old again had a gentle trot around Godolphin’s private dirt training facility at Marmoom this morning and has a live chance of providing trainer Charlie Appleby with his first Dubai World Cup night winner.
“The preparation has gone well, physically he has come on and I was delighted with his last run,” Appleby said. “It took the freshness out of him, he has come on for it and racing over 1200m will be much more in his comfort zone.”
William Buick will be on board, and he added: “He is a horse I have always thought a lot of. The 1200m here on fast ground really stands him in good stead and I was really happy with his run last time over 1000m. He seems to be in good form and lets hope he can break his Group 1 duck.”
Conquest Tsunami, Richard’s Boy and Stormy Liberal – The trio of contenders trained by Peter Miller took it easy with only light exercise on Friday morning while staying in the quarantine area. Miller kept to his plan to retain all three in the barn area following their 600m breezes over the Meydan dirt track on Tuesday.
Faatinah – The Australian Group 2 winner captured the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi World Class Healthcare Cup at Meydan on January 18. He had a gentle work on the Meydan dirt track at 7.15am.
Holding Gold – On Friday morning Randi Melton, who is looking after Holding Gold for trainer Mark Casse, took him to the training track for an easy 1600m jog.
“We are extremely competitive in any race, be it a claiming race or a Grade 1 race, so we want to win. That said, we have the utmost respect for all the runners and it is an extremely talented field,” Melton said.
“A win, even a placing, would mean a great deal to us. So we want to beat everyone. He is happy and now the rest is up to him.”
Hit The Bid – Trainer Darren Bunyan said: “After three months here he’s just had his final canter. His jockey Leigh Roche rode him and he knows him better than anyone being with him from the start at home. He will race forward as usual and I would prefer to have drawn lower but there is pace near him with Conquest Tsunami. I think he will stay six and I’m convinced he will win a Group 1 for us at some stage.”
Washington DC – Washington DC trained on the dirt track with all of his stablemates at 7am.
“He is in great shape,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said. “He likes a fast pace to run at on fast ground and we will ride him for a bit of luck. He has Group 1 form and we think he has progressed since last year. We think he could surprise a few people and run a big race.”
Librisa Breeze – Big-race jockey Robert Winston had his first sit on the grey when cantering on the Meydan training track just after 8am.
“He didn’t do too much there, but it was good to let Robert get a feel. I never like to do too much the day before a race,” trainer Dean Ivory said. “As I said before, it is an ask to go from the cold at home to the heat here and he hasn’t had too long to acclimatise. But he is working well.
“I’ve looked at Saturday’s race and there’s a lot of good-class horses in there. It’s a big field and they might split into two groups. We’ll just try not to over-complicate things.”
Magical Memory – Charlie Hills was on hand to see Magical Memory canter around the Meydan training track under his regular rider Nicola Dowell.
The big-race mount of Frankie Dettori has picked up plenty of Group races during his career but is still waiting to break his duck at the top level.
“Nicola rides him at home every day and she seems really happy,” Hills said.
“I popped in to see him yesterday morning and it’s all good really. He’s had a good prep, some steady canters during the week, his weight’s good, his temperature’s good, he’s drinking plenty. I’m happy with the way he’s travelled.”
Music Magnate – Trainer Bjorn Baker, who will saddle a horse for the first time in Dubai when Group 1 winner Music Magnate competes, tightened the final screws by sending the gelding to the dirt track before 5 am on Friday.
The Australian-based Baker is the son of famed trainer Murray Baker, who is called “the Bob Baffert of New Zealand”.
“My father and I are fairly competitive,” said the younger Baker, who captured his only Group 1 winner with Music Magnate, but won four in partnership with his dad. “If I can win this race, I can truly say that I’m the only international trainer in the family.”
Bjorn Baker learned the business working with his dad, and then spent years with John Oxx in Ireland and Christophe Clement in America.
“They taught me to be very hard-working, to treat each horse as an individual, and to use common sense. Just like my father, they really get to know their horses,” he said.
$1 million Godolphin Mile (Group 2)
Adirato – Cantered a lap around the dirt track this morning. “Based on where the start is for the mile (1600m) we’re good without post position. The distance shouldn’t be a problem, he can handle a mile over one turn. We schooled with a gate boy the other day and that went really well.” trainer Naosuke Sugai said.
Akino Crescent – Walked in the quarantine area and did not come out on to the track.
“I am happy that he is fit,” trainer Hisashi Shimizu said. “He looks like he is enjoying the life here. I looked at the dirt track this morning, too, and while we don’t know for sure if he will like running on the dirt here for sure, I think he will handle it.”
Economic Model – Under the assistant to American-based trainer Chad Brown, Guezal Cruz, Economic Model galloped once around the track just before 7.30am and again the striking bay horse attracted admiring glances.
The Graded stakes winner, who has overcome foot problems that sidelined him for most of 2017 during his 4-year-old campaign, will remain in Dubai after the race to run for new connections.
Muntazah /Shamaal Nibraas/Kimbear/Second Summer –Doug Watson’s four charges are in good order ahead of Saturday’s test.
“They all looked great this morning and I’m very happy with their preparations,” Watson said.
Musawaat – Trainer Fawzi Nass is hoping the application of a visor will have a positive impact in Saturday’s race.
“He’s running in a first-time visor and I hope that brings out some improvement,” Nass said. “We’ve worked him in a visor and that has gone well.”
Rosa Imperial – The lightly raced 5-year-old mare Rosa Imperial looked well as she came onto the dirt track at 7am.
She had followed stable companion and Dubai World Cup contender Talismanic onto the track, where she did a steady canter over 1400m several lengths behind Talismanic.
$2 million UAE Derby (Group 2)
Gold Town – The brilliant winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas trial and the UAE 2000 Guineas (Group 3) itself on his two
Meydan starts completed his preparation with a gentle spin over Charlie Appleby’s 2000m dirt track at Marmoon.
The son of Street Cry, who was second in this race in 2001, faces stiffer competition on this occasion and also steps up in distance, but Appleby is satisfied with his preparation.
“Like I say about the other horses, everything has gone well with him and we have got him this far in good condition,” Appleby said.
“Saturday is a different test for him but we know he likes the dirt at Meydan and I think the longer trip will suit him.”
Mendelssohn, Threeandfourpence and Seahenge – The three UAE Derby hopefuls, who are hoping to also earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby May 5, came out on the dirt track with Mendelssohn catching the most attention from the onlookers.
“Mendelssohn was out there shouting (whinnying) on the track this morning,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said. “It is just a little bit of immaturity, even though he has developed well over the winter. He was a bit like that in America and he won the Breeders’ Cup so it’s nothing to worry about.
“He wears blinkers on raceday but not in the mornings. All three for the Derby are in great form and their preparation has gone very well. Threeandfourpence and Seahenge will like going up in trip, we feel. As for tactics, the intention off all three will be to jump and go forward.
If any one of them gets to the front that’s great and if they are handy they are handy. It seems it is best being forward on the surface. Maybe they won’t be able to lead, but they will work it out as they go.
Rayya – Leading trainer Doug Watson will send out the filly Rayya in Saturday’s race and she is likely to lead the charge from the inside post under regular rider Pat Dobbs.
Rayya, who looked great again on Friday morning at her home base of Red Stables, will be having her final start for Watson before leaving for America and the care of trainer Bob Baffert.
Ruggero – Had a routine easy canter for one lap on the dirt track at Meydan.
“The inside draw (two) will be good for him. He isn’t bothered by being trapped on the rail in a race. He looks happy, his appetite is great and he is very fit. He is very unflappable. Everything has gone well so far.” trainer Yuichi Shikato said.
Taiki Ferveur – Stayed in quarantine and cantered around the trotting track a bit.
“Since we are racing tomorrow we didn’t want to overdo it today. Some light hacking near the stable was perfect. He is doing really great for his first trip overseas.” trainer Mitsunori Makiura said.
Yulong Warrior – Not since Little Jim finished third to Lundy’s Liability in the UAE Derby ten years ago has Satish Seemar saddled a runner in the race with the anticipation he has for Yulong Warrior.
“He’s a Listed-race winner running at the top Group level, so he will have to improve on what he has done on the racecourse so far,” Seemar said, after putting the finishing touches to the US-bred colt’s big-race preparation with a steady hack canter over 2000m at his private Zabeel Stables on Friday.
“But he won his stakes race, the Al Bastakiya, by more than 11 lengths and that entitles him to go into Group company. He’s still improving, and he’ll have a lot more going for him in the near future.”
The immediate prospect for Yulong Warrior, who will carry his original racing colours on Saturday, after being bought back by Chinese businessman Zhang Yie Shang’s company Yulong Investments last weekend, could include a return to the US. He was given a last-minute nomination for the American Triple Crown.
$1 million Dubai Gold Cup (Group 2)
Big Orange – After his workout yesterday on the training track, Michael Bell’s charge remained in the quarantine barn to have a walk around.
“He had a good work on Thursday and, as last year, we decided not to do too much the day before the race with him,” Bell said.
“He is looking really good, he’s thrived in the sunshine here.
“For his age he is relatively lightly-raced and if he can step up a bit he could put in a very big show. Winning the
Ascot Gold Cup was a fantastic day and I’ve obviously won other big races, including the Derby, at home. But to win here would be a real box ticked in my training career. I’ve been here a few times and tried it.”
Frontiersman – Trainer Charlie Appleby will also be represented by Frontiersman who also has solid European form and was second to stablemate Hawkbill in the Dubai City Of Gold Sponsored By Emirates SkyCargo (Group 2) last time out.
“I have been happy with him since that run and he just had a hack round this morning,” Appleby said. “Lets hope he sees the trip out well tomorrow and I would like to think he might develop into a Cup horse for the European turf season.”
Janszoon – Janszoon stayed in the Grandstand Stables on Friday morning and just did some trot work. “We are really happy with his preparation,” said Jilani Siddiqui, assistant to trainer, Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. “He is doing very well. Tomorrow we will hand walk him in the morning and we are looking forward to his race.”
Los Barbados – Finished second in the 2800m EGA Al Taweelah Trophy on January 25 and steps up another 400m for Saturday’s race.
“He has a good draw in three and is going back up to 16 furlongs (3200m). It is a good race and he will run his heart out,” trainer Fawzi Nass said.
Sheikhzayedroad – The popular 9-year-old Sheikhzayedroad, with Katy Reed up, enjoyed an easy canter over the Meydan dirt track just after 7am in company with stablemate Desert Encounter.
Following their morning trackwork, the veteran stayer led the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic starter Desert Encounter for a visit to the Meydan saddling enclosure.
“It was just a paddock school. Sheikhzayedroad has seen it all before but the other horse (Desert Encounter), it’s his first time over here and it’s a unique paddock and pre-paddock,” Simcock said. “We take them for a look and let them come through the tunnel. It’s pretty routine, but it’s nice for them to see it.”
An 11-time winner from 44 career starts, Sheikhzayedroad earned Grade 1 status in 2014 with an impressive win in the Northern Dancer Stakes, at Woodbine Racetrack. The good traveller was strong minded in his youth but has grown into a perfect gentleman.
“He’s much more mature now. Very wise. He’s a little like me when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I was a little bit wild and he was the same. Not a lot fazes him now,” Simcock joked.
Rare Rhythm – The 6-year-old got the better of dual winner of this race, Vazirabad, last time out in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (Group 2) and trainer Charlie Appleby reports him to have come forward since.
After a blowout on Wednesday morning, he again had light exercise over 2000m this morning.
“When a trainer like Alain de Royer-Dupre says he is worried about us then I am delighted,” Appleby said.
“His Vazirabad is the one we all have to beat and we know how his preparation has gone in the last few years – he has always come forward for that prep race, but we feel that we have too.
“People will say that we got first run but as far as I saw it both jockeys couldn’t see each other and Christophe Soumillon got a love run around the inner and it opened up perfectly for him. William (Buick on Rare Rhythm) had his horse travel well for him and when Vazirabad challenged him he galloped out strong.
“His preparation has gone great and I am very happy with our fellow.”
Buick added: “Most of the other stayers are the usual suspects and he is the new kid on the block in that division. He seems to have taken to it very well. He gets into a lovely rhythm and is a great racehorse and I think he can confirm the form.”
Torcedor – Trainer Jessica Harrington had this to say about her Dubai Gold Cup contender: “He’s just had another nice canter on the dirt track which he really enjoys. I’m very happy with him and so is Colm (O’Donoghue, jockey). His preparation has gone very well and we are looking forward to the race. As for the wide draw, he has made the running in the past or he can sit in behind, it doesn’t make much odds to him. Colm knows him very well and in a funny way I think the wide draw will help him.”
Vazirabad – French trainer Alain de Royer Dupré is looking forward to the race after watching Vazirabad on the dirt track at Meydan racecourse on Friday morning. He came out with stable companion Canndera and jogged once round the track before continuing with a steady canter over 1100m.
“I find him very relaxed and very supple,” confirmed his trainer. “He didn’t do much this morning. He went slower than usual and we are now ready for tomorrow.”
$1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic (Group 1)
Al Zahir and Barnamaj – Both of trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s Purebred Arabian contenders stayed trotting inside Grandstand Stables on Friday morning. They will be hand walked on Saturday morning.
Cheik Roque – “He’s a consistent horse and he’s progressing on the dirt,” trainer Erwan Charpy said. “I’d be worried that it’s going to be a very tactical race. There seems to be a lot of speed in the middle, and he’s got a wide draw. We’ll see what happens.”
Nafees – Charles Gourdain continues to be well pleased with Nafees, who came onto the dirt track for a steady canter over 1400m at 7am.
“He is very relaxed,” the trainer said. “He is always like that but what is amazing is that he has his perfect racing weight of 417 kilos. That is his usual weight and he is exactly that. It’s great. I’m very happy with him.”