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.
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.