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Dubai World Cup night contenders prepped

A host of horses mentioned as possibly making a trip to Nad al Sheba for races on the Dubai World Cup card raced this weekend in the hopes of taking firm steps forward toward an ultimate big-money goal. As previously mentioned, ALBERTUS MAXIMUS won the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park in a tough effort over 30-1 longshot FINALLYMADEIT. The connections of Finallymadeit have indicated they are now considering a trip to the Dubai World Cup following the strong effort of their son of Concerto who has earned over $800,000 in 39 starts.

Hong Kong might have a starter in the Dubai Golden Shaheen after INSPIRATION got the job done in the Centenary Sprint Cup (G1), seven weeks after pulling a shocking 66-1 upset in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin.

Inspiration winning Centenary Sprint Cup (G1) - photo courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club

Inspiration winning Centenary Sprint Cup (G1) - photo courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club

Sunday’s win was over 1000 meters and trainer John Moore, who sent Viva Pataca to a second in last year’s Dubai Sheema Classic, has the Dubai Golden Shaheen on Inspiration’s schedule following a tilt in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

What is dubbed as Australia’s “fastest five furlongs,” the $470,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (G1) marked the highlight of the racing weekend there. WEEKEND HUSSLER, Australia’s reigning Horse of the Year, made his 2009 debut against reigning Global Sprint Challenge champion APACHE CAT. Neither had their best runs, with Weekend Hussler deadheating fourth and really looking like he needed the race. Perth-based Scenic Blast won the race at a bit of a price.

Trainer Ross McDonald has the schedule set for Weekend Hussler, going in the Australia Stakes (1200 meters) at Moonee Valley on February 12, the Futurity (1600 meters) at Caulfield on February 28, and then onto Dubai for the Duty Free at 1777 meters. In 18 lifetime starts, Weekend Hussler has 12 wins and second as the Lightning Stakes marked his fifth off-the-board finish in his career.

KIP DEVILLE won Sunday’s Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream in what is likely his last start before a trip to the Dubai Duty Free. He outlasted his stablemate, COURT VISION and longshot JUST AS WELL, winning by a length in what was mostly a vigorous hand ride. Trained by Rick Dutrow, Kip Deville took down the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Monmouth and was second to GOLDIKOVA in the 2008 edition.


  1. Your article is misinformed, Weekend hussler struck interference all race, the jockey got him in behind a pack of horses and he couldnt wind through his gears until the 100m mark (then making up 2 lengths)… Apache cat has a problem with looking at the grandstands at flemington and this caused him to ride across on weekend hussler and block his run from the 500m mark to the 100m mark…Your article suggests that he needed the race because he was out of form and slow, that is not the case….the jockey was out of form for ever thinking he should tuck a horse like weekend hussler into a pack of horses in a 1000m race…He will win the duty free and he will do it in style, Good Ba Ba will be the only horse within 5 lengths at the finish line…mark my words

  2. Thanks for the comment, Stephen. The winner of the Lightning really did get a perfect trip having been swung into the clear after the rail drawn, and Weekend Hussler did get moving late.

    I don’t think he needed the race because he was slow (he’s proven enough that he is incredibly fast), but because it was the first of a clearly defined campaign. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think McDonald was going to have him totally cranked knowing the bigger, more lucrative prizes lay ahead.

  3. What a meeting this will be, Good Ba Ba and weekend hussler will fight it out for the best miler title, I really cant see anything else to challenge them, Can you? What are the tracks usually rated at in Dubai? Good?

  4. Good or good to firm to be expected for Dubai World Cup night. They often control the give because there is so little natural precipitation.

    Good Ba Ba (if he comes) and Weekend Hussler will be major contenders, but you have to expect a strong Japanese contingent (Vodka is likely to be back), plus some decent Euros.
    In my opinion, the Dubai Duty Free is the most internationally competitive turf race in the world. Melbourne Cup is best race for stayers, Arc de Triomphe is the ultimate in Europe, the Hong Kong Mile gets the best of Asia…but when you ask for all comers, the Dubai Duty Free is the most diverse. Last year’s field was fabulous, and Jay Peg upset them all at 40 or 50-1.

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