Group 1 US$10m Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline – 2000m (Dirt)
Special Fighter (IRE) – Maria Ritchie, trainer, said: “To have a Dubai World Cup runner, one who was fourth in the race last year, is very exciting having only had a licence a month and he ran well on Super Saturday.
“He needed that first run of the season and we just have to hope for a kind draw on Wednesday.”
Furia Cruzada (CHI) – Antonio Fresu, jockey, said: “She won well in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2, when she needed the run, and would have been closer on Super Saturday with a smoother passage. She stays well and we are looking forward to a big run from her.”
Mubtaahij (IRE) – Jockey Christophe Soumillon said: “He travelled very strongly on his one run this year and I was not hard on him under a big weight after a long break. He was an excellent second in this last year and seems in similar form in another strong renewal with Arrogate looking the one we have to beat.”
Long River (USA) – Jockey Mickael Barzalona said: “We were not surprised when he won on Super Saturday; we knew he was capable of that kind of performance but he will need to raise his game again on Saturday.”
Gold Dream (JPN) – Went two easy laps around Meydan’s dirt course early on Tuesday morning. Assistant trainer Mitsuhiro Horibe said: “He is training as he normally does. We schooled in the paddock today as well. He seems to be handling this dirt surface just fine.”
Arrogate (USA) – A day after he breezed about 800m at Meydan, Arrogate spent a peaceful morning on Tuesday in the quarantine barn area.
“They just walked and it was nice and cool for them, which was great,” said trainer Bob Baffert, referring to Arrogate and his stablemate and fellow Dubai World Cup contender Hoppertunity (USA). Baffert added that he plans to send both horses out to gallop on Wednesday morning prior to the draw for the Dubai World Cup.
Dana Barnes, an assistant to Baffert who has been riding both horses in their morning work, reported that Arrogate was “just perfect” in his brief drill on Monday. “He was a little aggressive early on, so I kind of geared down on him a little, but Bob told me (via a radio connection) to pick it up a little. I was afraid to pick it up too much because he can go from zero to 60 pretty quick,” she said with a laugh.
Arrogate moved superbly over the Meydan dirt and seems to be thriving prior to Saturday’s race.
“His stride is just unbelievable. I’ve never ridden him on any track that he didn’t handle, and he was just beautiful yesterday,” Barnes said. “And he bounced back to the barn – he doesn’t usually do that on the way home, but he was bouncing yesterday.”
Hoppertunity (USA)—Joining his stablemate Arrogate, Hoppertunity enjoyed a leisurely Tuesday morning in the quarantine barn area, venturing out for a quiet walk a day after he worked an easy 800m at Meydan.
“Both are doing great. They’re eating everything and they are just doing perfectly,” Baffert said.
Hoppertunity, who finished third in last year’s Dubai World Cup, “was very happy” during his Monday workout and “just loves it here” in Dubai, said exercise rider and assistant trainer Dana Barnes.
“He and Arrogate both love the big windows in the back of their stalls. They look out those windows and watch everything. They are really doing great,” she said.
Keen Ice (USA)—Arriving shortly after 5am and followed the daily plan trainer Todd Pletcher has designed for his three Dubai World Cup programme contenders by galloping about 2200m. By going out during the earliest training time slot for international runners, he also gained the experience of conditions similar to race night by seeing the track under bright stadium-style lighting.
“Keen Ice is doing unbelievable,” said exercise rider Nick Bush. “He’s hitting the ground really well.”
Keen Ice can be a challenge to ride, reported Bush, who explained that he can try to grab hold of the bit and take off with his rider.
“He’s so big, he can run off with you,” he added. “But if you give him his head, he’ll relax, and he’s totally chilled out over here. He gets over this track so easy and so well.”
Since Keen Ice has handled the journey to Dubai and his training at Meydan so superbly and also thrives over the 2000m distance of the Dubai World Cup, Bush is optimistic about his chances in the race.
“There should be no excuses – no reason that he shouldn’t show up,” he said.
Neolithic (USA) Galloped about 2200m on Tuesday morning with his ears pricked most of the way.
“He’s blossoming,” said Nick Bush, who rode the colt during the 7am training slot for international runners at Meydan and also has ridden his two Todd Pletcher-trained stablemates at various times this week.
“He feels good and I like him a lot,” Bush added of Neolithic. “It seems that he likes the surface here.”
The major question about Neolithic, Bush said, will be how he handles the final part of the 2000m Dubai World Cup since he weakened somewhat in the latter stages of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes over about 1800m that was won by Arrogate on January 28 at Gulfstream Park.
All three Pletcher trainees were scheduled to school in the Meydan parade ring on Tuesday evening.
Lani (USA) – The 2016 UAE Derby winner, who competed in all legs of the Triple Crown in the USA last year, cantered two laps over the dirt course.
Assistant trainer Katsuyuki Kido said: “Everything has gone well as planned.”
Awardee (USA)- The Mikio Matsunaga-trained seven-year-old cantered two laps over dirt.
Assistant trainer Katsuyuki Kido said: “He has not been familiarised with the new surroundings, so he worked behind Lani and ran along with him to have him concentrate more. Once Awardee came up with Lani, he launched himself a bit and moved nicely. Jockey Yutaka Take will gallop tomorrow.”
Group 1 US$6m Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World, 1800m (Turf)
Zarak (FR) – With stable companion Vazirabad (FR), they followed their lead horse onto the main track before they jogged and then did a slow canter.
Antoine Creton, travelling head lad for Alain de Royer Dupre. was on board the leader.
“He said: “We just jogged and then I led them once round the track in a slow canter. The trainer is coming tomorrow.”
Heshem (IRE) – Trainer Christophe Ferland arrived on Tuesday morning in time to see Heshem come out onto the track.
Ferland said: “The horse did a little canter over about 1000m. It was just a little jogging to put him right. I think we will canter him properly tomorrow and then maybe give him a lung opener, which should put him right for the big night.”
Heshem will be Christophe Ferland’s first starter on Dubai World Cup night and he added: “I’m surprised how well he has travelled over here. He lost very little weight and the weight he did lose, he has already put back on, so it’s all good.”
Opal Tiara (IRE) – Lesley White, trainer Mick Channon’s long-serving travelling head groom, said: “He did the same as yesterday, just cantered for 1600m. We’ll go on the main track tomorrow for a bit of a blow, then lob along Thursday and Friday and keep our fingers crossed for Saturday.”
Mutakayyef (GB) – William Haggas’s charge looked in good shape as he appeared on the grass training track just after 8am. Colm Sharkey was in the saddle as the six-year-old had a canter with a lead horse and Sheihzayedroad (GB).
Vivlos (JPN) – Circled the dirt course once, with a 400m brisk canter once in the stretch. Assistant trainer Shinji Yasuda said: “We didn’t have a lot of time to work this morning since we wanted to school in the paddock, but since her major work is tomorrow, she didn’t need much more. She is all set for her final gallop. She is in great shape.”
Debt Collector (NZ) – Cantered on training track. Trainer Cliff Brown said: “He’s settling in better. At first it was all a bit new to him. He’s a young horse and it was a change to the routine. But he’s eating up well and his bodyweight is in the range that he would race at back home.
“He’s the best horse in Singapore but this is a very strong race and that is the main problem we face. It’s like he’s moving from the goldfish bowl to the wide open ocean.”
Ribchester (IRE) – Again an early-starter and repeated Monday’s routine, clocking in at shortly after 5am with a steady canter round Meydan’s main dirt track. William Buick takes the ride on the Godolphin-owned four-year-old, having been in the saddle for his two 2016 wins, as well as two narrowly-beaten places in the 2,000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Mondialiste (IRE) – Landed valuable prizes for Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara in the US and Canada since September 2015 and continued his low-key preparation for his first outing in Dubai. He completed a leisurely, one-circuit canter on the turf training track.
Decorated Knight (GB) cantered two circuits of the dirt training track at a very steady pace, as he prepares for his second outing over course and distance at Meydan. He broke through into Group 1-winning company earlier this month with a neck victory under Saturday’s rider Andrea Atzeni.
Group 1 US$6m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, 2410m (Turf)
Postponed (IRE) – Trainer Roger Varian is due in on Wednesday, and preparation on the all-weather training track was overseen by his assistant, Will Johnson.
“He just had a nice blow, very much in line with what he did yesterday,” said Johnson.
“He’s nice and alert. It depends on the weather, but he’ll either do a faster piece of tomorrow or Thursday once Roger and Andrea Atzeni are in town.”
Highland Reel (IRE) and Seventh Heaven (IRE) – Arrived safely from Ireland at Meydan’s international stables early on Tuesday morning, spearheading the biggest Ballydoyle team at the meeting. Trainer Aidan O’Brien will be represented in five races as he mounts an all-out attempt to build on a record of three winners from 22 previous runners. The nine-strong party flew from Shannon and having travelled in two horseboxes from Dubai airport, were familiarising themselves with their new surroundings by 8am, ahead of the obligatory 48-hour period of quarantine.
Sounds of Earth (JPN) – Cantered over the dirt course. Assistant trainer Masaoki Nakata said: “My horse has been getting relaxed and felt great. He had some piece of work in Japan and I didn’t give him too much to do over the turf course, so we would be working him entirely on dirt through the week.”
Group 1 US$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News, 1200m (Dirt)
Dundonnell (USA) – The gelding did not appear on the main track.
“I just kept him in the trotting ring and he just had a nice trot back around there for about 30 minutes,” trainer Caspar Fownes said. “Everything’s alright with him.
“His level of fitness is good. His last two runs have been pretty respectable efforts so we’re hoping if we get a good gate there’s a chance he could pick up a cheque again. The competition’s going be tough for the big night but his form’s pretty good and he looks well. He seems to handle the surface pretty good.”
Reynaldothewizard (USA) – Richard Mullen, jockey, said: “It looks a strong race but you know he will give his best and should be staying on in the straight.”
Cool Cowboy (USA) - Pat Dobbs, jockey, said: “Reverting to sprinting has suited him this year and, unlike most, he does not mind the kickback so the draw is not so vital with him.”
My Catch (IRE) – Sam Hitchcott, jockey, said: “Granted a low draw he can run a big race so fingers crossed we get a nice gate on Wednesday.”
Morawij (GB) – Chris Hayes, jockey, said: “He is tough and the 1200m is ideal for him at Meydan. We had the worst possible draw when third last year but a better one when he won on Super Saturday. Hopefully we get a decent gate again in which case he will make them go.”
Muarrab (GB) – Jim Crowley, jockey, said: “Holding him up on Super Saturday did not suit him so I imagine we will ride him positively so, hopefully, we get a draw to help with that. He looked good winning this last year and can hopefully.
“It looks a strong race but you know he will give his best and should be staying on in the straight.”
St Joe Bay (USA) – Walked the shed row at the quarantine facility at Meydan and is expected to breeze on Wednesday, with trainer Peter Miller scheduled to arrive in Dubai on Tuesday evening.
Dios Corrida (JPN) – The three-year-old had a two-lap maintenance work over the Meydan dirt course. Assistant trainer Yoshinori Unoki said: “We went for a two lap canter today over the dirt course, our usual work routine, setting him up for his fast work tomorrow morning. Tomorrow we will go 1200m.”
Notlistenin’tome (AUS) – Remained in quarantine trotting ring. Assistant trainer George Moore said: “We stayed in the trotting ring. I have nothing much to report but I guess that’s what you want. He is eating and drinking well. The plan is that he will do a lap and a half of the main track tomorrow.”
Imperial Hint (USA)—After a small amount of fluid was detected in his right lung during an ultrasound examination on Monday afternoon, he was withdrawn as he had to be treated with medication for what was apparently a minor infection.
Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr was greatly disappointed by the development but is glad that the four-year-old is expected to recover quickly.
“This was like a one in two million chance for me to be here this year, so I don’t know when my next chance will be. It would be a miracle to come again,” said Carvajal. “I’m really sad not to be able to participate.”
Imperial Hint arrived in Dubai with a slight fever, which is not unusual in horses being transported over long distances.
“This can happen to any horse,” Carvajal said, adding that treatment became important when the fluid was detected in order to avoid the danger of pneumonia developing in the lungs.
“We’ve got to be very careful about this. It seems that he will have enough time to recuperate and go back home on March 29 with the rest of the (American-based) horses. It’s very good that the horse will be fine. Everything will be alright but it will be bittersweet to be here and watch the races.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to come here to Dubai and be a part of this beautiful festival, and I wish it would have been a different scenario.”
Stallwalkin’ Dude (USA)— Galloped 1200m on the dirt course Tuesday at 7am. In attendance was assistant trainer Howard Jacobson, son of head trainer and co-owner David, who will be supervising the dark bay gelding’s conditioning through the race.
“He galloped well today and yesterday,” Jacobson said. “He’s a great horse with a lot of class and heart and we’re happy to be here with him.
“We’re sticking to the routine and are going to let him run his race,” he continued. “We’re going to breeze him on Thursday or we might even do that tomorrow. His training hasn’t really changed since the day we got here.
“He’s a closer, so hopefully there will be pace,” Jacobson said. “With Imperial Hint out, St Joe Bay has to be the pace in there. We hope someone goes out with him.”
The Jacobson yard has sent only one other runner to Dubai in the past. In 2015, Salutos Amigos (USA) ran eighth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, while also co-owned by his conditioner.
“My father’s experience before definitely helped,” Jacobson said. “Knowing which horse to send is obviously key and knowing the track and the routine out here is very important. It was a good experience for my father last time and he wanted me to experience it here this time. Everything is world class here. It’s amazing.”
Mind Your Biscuits (USA) – Put his final serious track work to bed on Tuesday morning in advance of Saturday’s race. The chestnut came out at 5am amid rain showers and blew out 400m down the dirt course’s home stretch with trainer Chad Summers looking on from the grandstand. The Grade 1 winner then galloped out strongly around the bend.
“That’s why we bring our team out with us these days,” Summers said. “You want everything to go perfectly and it did. He blew out with (400m) in (22.20 seconds) to the wire. He galloped out in (37.40 seconds for 600m) and 52 (seconds for 800m). Everything was perfect. We put some air in his lungs and now we know he likes the track. Now we just wait for the draw tomorrow and keep our fingers crossed.”
Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments, 1200m (Turf)
Ertijaal (IRE) – Jockey Jim Crowley said: “I am really looking forward to Saturday and he is working very well indeed. The distance is not going to be a problem and he has won over 1400m as well. He must have a great chance of going one better than his second of last year.”
Final Venture (GB) – Paul Midgley, trainer, said: “He just had a canter on the training track. He’s fit and ready to go so we don’t need to do much more with him.”
Long On Value (USA) – Had a 400m “blow-out” through the Meydan stretch under exercise rider Megan Johnston for a second straight morning.
“Yesterday we thought he was just a little bit lackadaisical,” said Riley Mott, assistant to his father, trainer Bill Mott.
“I attribute that to him being on his own; usually he breezes in company. He was looking around and didn’t exactly know what he was doing so we felt like we’d come back and do it again and we’re happy with how it went. It was just something to brighten him up a little bit and he was moving well.
“It’s kind of an old-school move and the boss is pretty old-school. But it’s not anything we haven’t done in the past.”
The Right Man (FR) – Came out onto the main track, ridden by Mickael Mingant, who confirmed: “The track was a bit wet, so this morning we took it slowly. We jogged three quarters of the track and then went a bit quicker in the final quarter. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, he will go back to his routine canter.”
Finsbury Square (FR) – Fabrice Chappet was on the track to oversee a slow canter once around the track. He said: “This is only his second day on the track, seeing that he only arrived last week. He looks like he is well acclimatised and just did his usual routine of a slow canter. I’m very happy with the rain.”
Richard’s Boy (USA) – Walked the shed row Tuesday morning at the quarantine facility. He will be back on track Wednesday morning for a light breeze.
“He’s super fresh and ready to go,” said exercise rider Jesse Sauder.
Amazing Kids (NZ) – Cantered on main dirt track. Work rider David Mo said: “He has settled in well. He had some easy work again for him today. My boss (trainer John Size) is here tomorrow morning and he will decide the programme then.”
Group 2 $US2m UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, 1900m (Dirt)
Cosmo Charlie (USA) and Bee Jersey (USA) – Trainer Doug Watson said: “The draw, in 15, was not kind for Cosmo Charlie which was very disappointing. Bee Jersey is in seven which is better but, overall, the draw has done us no favours.”
He Runs Away (ARG) – Trainer Ricardo Colombo said: “He came out early this morning and everything is going well. He only did a slow canter, very slow.”
Qatar Man (IRE) – Trainer Marco Botti’s wife Lucie is looking forward to Saturday’s race. The three-year-old was out on the main track at 5.15am and afterwards she said: “He just had a little stretch around the track and was very relaxed, which is just what you want to see. All is good with him.
“He’s drawn in one which is a very good draw and he is next to the American horse (Master Plan) so should be able to follow the speed. Hopefully he can do the same as he did in his last run.”
Epicharis (JPN) – The colt stretched his legs, cantering one lap around the dirt course. Trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara said: “After a brief maintenance gallop we schooled him in the paddock. He is moving quite nicely.”
Adirato (JPN) – Worked a brief lap and a half over the dirt course. Assistant trainer Shingo Nomiyama said: It was a good easy canter. We didn’t want to overdo it before his main work tomorrow but we traced the same course he will run during the race.”
Vettori Kin (BRZ) – The Brazilian Group 1 winner appeared on the dirt track for another morning of light exercise around 7am.
Master Plan (USA) – Bradley Weisbord, US advisor to co-owner Al Shaqab Racing, was on hand for the 2200m gallop on the main track and laughingly referred to the entry of the promising colt as “a crazy decision.”
“It would be great to get Al Shaqab’s first Dubai World Cup night win – that would be special. It all made sense in the end, and the purse is a very interesting piece of the puzzle.”
If Master Plan wins, the Kentucky Derby could be an option for him since he will acquire the necessary eligibility points for entry. Weisbord said a strong performance in the 1900m race could indicate Master Plan might be a good candidate for the 2400m Belmont Stakes.
Group 2 US$1m Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, 3,200m (Turf)
Zamaam (GB) – Jockey Jim Crowley, said: “I won the big race at Abu Dhabi on him on Sunday which earned him a late invitation so he is backing up quickly but he stays well and Erwan Charpy has done a great job with him.”
Vazirabad (FR) – Came onto the main track together with stable companion Zarak, who runs in the Dubai Turf. Well used to the training regime, he appreciated the rain and his rider was very happy with him. Vazirabad followed his leader, as he cantered down the back stretch and in front of the stands. Antoine Creton, travelling head lad for the HH the Aga Khan yard, confirmed: “He is well. All is good.”
Wall Of Fire (IRE) – Miguel Clement, pupil assistant to Hugo Palmer, said: “We took him to the training track and he just did a normal canter on the grass. He’ll just keep doing that this week.”
Trip To Paris (IRE) – “He just did a lap of about 1600m, a normal canter,” said Robin Trevor-Jones, travelling head lad to trainer Ed Dunlop, watching from the grass training track.
“We’ll keep monitoring his weight, if he’s putting weight on then he might need to do a bit more later in the week but he’s pretty straight.”
Big Orange (GB) – Denied by a neck in the 2016 edition, he is seeking redemption in Saturday’s running.
“He’s a bigger, stronger horse this year,” said exercise rider Jill Dolman after she cantered the enormous bay on the training track.
“He’s grown into himself. He has such a big stride.”
Heartbreak City (FR) – Cantered on the turf track in the training area.
Trainer Tony Martin said: “He doesn’t need much work and the reports are that he is well. I travelled to see him gallop in Dubai under Tadhg O’Shea a week ago last Sunday and I was happy with that. It is a good race but the two I would be most fear are Vazirabad because he won last year and I would say he would improve a lot for his first run back and also Kingfisher because Aidan (O’Brien) trains him.”
Sheikhzayedroad (GB) – Cantered on the training track. Trainer David Simcock said: “He is very well. He is very experienced and he’s good as gold. He needed that first run back as he long break after winning at Ascot on Champions Day and will improve a lot for it. This is a very strong race, however. It’s a Group 2 in name only. It is a Group 1 field but I think he is up to being in the finish as he is just so consistent.”
Quechua (ARG) – Cantered on the training track. Trainer Ricardo Le Grange said: “He is very good shape and seems to enjoy it here. I have no complaints with how he has travelled. I’ve always thought that he would do well over a long distance like this trip of 3200m. The longest distance we have in Singapore is 2200m, so that’s why we raced him in the Hong Kong Vase over 2400m. The first two horses in that race (Satono Crown and Highland Reel) are world-class and they pulled a long way clear, but our guy was staying on and was not beaten far by the third horse.
“The people in Argentina who bred him said he should stay 3200m on pedigree and the way he raced at Sha Tin suggested the same, so I hope he can pick up some share of the prize-money with a little luck.”
Group 2 US$1m Godolphin Mile sponsored by Meydan Sobha, 1600m (Dirt)
North America (GB) – Richard Mullen, jockey, said: “He is an exciting horse and the whole team are really looking forward to Saturday. Drawn seven is not the end of the world and, with a bit of luck in running, he should be very competitive.”
Le Bernardin (USA) – Jockey Tadhg O’Shea said: “These are his optimum conditions as he has shown winning Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 twice. The draw is good and he seems in great shape so should run well.”
Stormardal (IRE) – Jockey Adrie de Vries said: “He needed his Super Saturday run, after a setback in his prep, so we were pleased with him but we would have preferred a lower draw on Saturday.”
Ross (IRE) – Following a day spent at the Quarantine yard after he had worked on Sunday, Ross was back out on the training track on Tuesday morning. Ridden by Patrick Gibson, he was very relaxed as he cantered once round the track and his rider confirmed: “He is in great form. He feels fresh and I’m happy with him.”
Gifted Master (IRE) – Miguel Clement, pupil assistant to Hugo Palmer, said: “He just did his usual round canter on the main track. He did quite an aggressive piece of work last Wednesday so we’ve just been keeping him ticking over.”
Sharp Azteca (USA) – Bounced onto the main track just after 7am and jogged twice around.
“It was an easy morning,” said trainer Jorge Navarro. “I overslept and when I got to the barn at 6.15am they were already walking him. I was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re supposed to wait for me!’ And they said, ‘No, Jorge, we had to take him out, he was on his toes.’”
Navarro said of his draw in stall six: “The jockey (Edgar Zayas) was the one who texted me and told me we got number six and that’s exactly the one he wanted. But he’s so ready it doesn’t matter anyway. We’ve done everything right and he’s done everything right; it’s all up to him now.”
Navarro nearly won on the card last year when X Y Jet led the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News with less than 100m remaining but was caught in the final strides.
“This is a cleaner horse,” Navarro said by way of comparison. “X Y Jet had issues and we had to baby him but this horse we can really train him how we need to.”
Kafuji Take (JPN) – Cantered one lap over the dirt course. Assistant trainer Hirofumi Yamamoto said: “He was in a good mood and moving well and there was no schooling today. Tomorrow he will have a gate schooling with the jockey (Yuichi Fukunaga) after work probably. The jockey said he wanted to be there for it. The dirt feels very soft with a good cushion when compared to the dirt in Japan.”
Group 1 (Purebred Arabians) US$1m Dubai Kahayla Classic empowered by IPIC, 2000m (Dirt)
RB Burn (US)/RB Dixie Burning (US) – Trainer Eric Lemartinel, said: “They have both been running and working well in training so hopefully all goes well with them on the big day.
“They have both drawn OK which is good but, obviously, there a lot of good horses to beat.”
RB Madymoiselle (US)/AF Al Hazer (AE) – Trainer Ernst Oertel said: “Hopefully RB Madymoiselle is up to the standard required. We received her a bit late but she has been training well and if she runs her race then you never know with her but she definitely has good pedigree.
“AF Al Hazer had an injury before and had two years off but this year we’ve been trying to bring him back and our aim was to try and win the Kahayla with him. He ran a very good race in the trial, where he finished third, and I think he will be much better for the race.
“The draw is not ideal but we have a proven jockey under these conditions in Adrie de Vries.”
Faucon Du Loup (FR) – Trainer Elise Jeanne said: “Our horse has been doing very well, seems to be feeling very good in himself and has been training very well. We all hope for the best and let’s see what happens on the night but it is very exciting for all of us in a small yard.
“He knows he is a good horse and won very well in the Maktoum Challenge, but here he will be up against some very good horses and even though he’s run against a few of them he will have to be at his very best on the day.”
AF Mathmoon (AE) & AF Maqayes (AE) – Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, trainer, said: “There have been a lot of changes since he was transferred to our stable so he has had to deal with new staff, trainer, riders and new feed so it was natural it would take him a bit of time to adjust.
“However, he is a very good horse and there’s no doubt about the fact that he will perform well as he has shown before he is cut out for good races like the Kahayla Classic, which he won last year.
“I am very happy with the way he has been performing over the last few days and expect a big run.
“AF Maqayes is primarily a 1400m or 1600m horse but we will try and stretch him out on Saturday – we received an invitation with him and were certainly not going to decline the chance.”
Sniper De Monlau (FR) – Helal Al Alawi, trainer, said: “He went to Qatar and had a very rough race so was unlucky there, but this is the race we have aimed for and we expect him to run the race of his life.
“He was a bit unlucky, in the last few races but I believe this is what he has been gearing up for really and I think he will do very well in the Kahayla Classic. We certainly have high hopes from him.”
Handassa (FR) – Went onto the training track. He was as usual ridden by Marlene Danos, who said: “He is very happy on his own, he doesn’t need a leader. This morning we went onto the training track where he did a good canter. He quickened well coming into the straight. I’m very happy with him.”
TM Thunder Struck (US) – One of the first horses onto the main track, cantering at 4am under Alban de Mieulle’s assistant Eric Ventrou, who said: “He just did a bit of a jog this morning. He only arrived yesterday and had done some really nice work back in Qatar, so he doesn’t need to do anything. I did let him quicken a bit in the straight, but not much.”