Saturday morning was the first day the American shippers were allowed out of quarantine and most made an appearance at Meydan. The international shippers are permitted on the main Meydan courses from 5:00 A.M. to 7:30 A.M., and then on the training track beginning at 8:00 A.M., while locally-based runners are due on each course at the opposite times.
Royal Delta, back for her second tilt at the Dubai World Cup, was the first horse on track at 5:35 A.M., joined by Christophe Clement-trainee Varsity, due to go in the Al Quoz Sprint. While Royal Delta galloped a lap of the Tapeta, Varsity just hacked around, his secondary saddle pad from home, emblazoned with the “CC” initials of his trainer quite noticeable. Great Attack, a fellow turf sprinter, got his first spin of Meydan without trouble.
Animal Kingdom emerged at 6:45 A.M. and was absolutely full of himself. With high action, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner was all about getting down to business and likely went fast enough to record a time under normal American training conditions. Alice Clapham was aboard Animal Kingdom, and she had her hands full. The son of Leroidesanimaux was looking about his new surroundings, especially at the end of the work which was clearly visible from my position at the 1,400-meter pole, and had his head cocked to the right, almost in search of his relatively unintended workmate, believed to be Maritimer for Seth Benzel. While there is no definitive word on how one would judge this work, it was absolutely, positively, the fastest trackwork we witnessed on the Tapeta from Saturday.
Private Zone, winless in America but with a handful of impressive placings, seemed the most “together” of the horses that shipped into Dubai on Wednesday. He got a jogging start from the extended one-mile chute and galloped a lap of the track without turning a hair. He quickly spun back around and jogged back into the chute and off he went. Overall, it was a very professional appearance from a quirky gelding.
Little Mike took a spin of the turf course with owner Priscilla Vaccarezza’s husband Carlo, and highly entertaining son Nick, overseeing the gallop. Vaccarezza indicated that there still remains a choice between the Dubai Duty Free over 1,800 meters or the Dubai Sheema Classic at 2,410 meters, and he seemed truly perplexed by the decision. Tammy Fox had the ride on Little Mike before returning to the barn and taking Dullahan for a spin on the training track. This guy just looks a fabulous specimen and has truly held the flesh he carried when images first surfaced following his late February ship prior to running on Super Saturday. The Pacific Classic winner seems ripe for improvement in the $10 million race.
It was not as smooth a morning for America’s champion sprinter Trinniberg, who was due to gallop over the main track at Meydan. Trainer Shivananda Parbhoo came to the main work viewing area and kept waiting for his horse. He called back to the barn at 7:05 A.M. and learned that the Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner had not left the stable yet. Given the layout of Meydan, and the fact that the international runners are to be off the course by 7:30 A.M., there was no way Trinniberg could get to the track and stretch his legs in time. Parbhoo retreated to the barn and regrouped, sending Trinniberg towards the Meydan training track. Meydan has a massive complex, and the barns that are on course are well spread out, connected by a maze of Tapeta paths. The training track has a 1,800-meter Tapeta surface outside a one-mile grass course, although the grass course is only open three days a week (not Saturday). Once there, Trinniberg galloped a lap and seemed to be blowing quite hard following the work. We saw He’s Had Enough heading to the training track around 8:15 A.M., but missed his actual appearance. Overall, the only American shipper we did not see was Paddy Gallagher trainee and El Camino Derby winner Dice Flavor.
A host of runners for the Al Quoz Sprint made an appearance on Saturday morning, including Medicean Man, a Carnival winner for Jeremy Gask, last year’s Al Quoz second Sole Power, Mick Halford’s Russian Soul and Hong Kong shipper Eagle Regiment. All turned in gallops over the course without leaving any superlative impressions. Later in the morning, fellow Al Quoz chances Invincible Ash, winner of the 2012 Meydan Sprint, and Spirit Quartz, winless since the 2011 Premio Tudini in Italy, got a circuit of the training track. Red Jazz, due for the Godolphin Mile, galloped on the grass, as did Saddler’s Rock (Dubai Gold Cup) and Royal Diamond. Jim Cornes of the Dubai Racing Club unofficially got Royal Diamond’s final 600 meters in 37.10 seconds, while Saddler’s Rock did the chore in 38.68 seconds.
Dubai Duty Free runners Ocean Park, the winner of the 2012 Cox Plate, and Trade Storm took spins. Ocean Park was eye-catching over the Tapeta, doing his work well off the rail. The Gary Hennessy trainee wore cheekpieces for his work and he certainly appeared focused as a result.
Red Cadeaux, making a start in the Dubai World Cup, seemed plenty fluent through a circuit of the all-weather. The Hong Kong Vase winner has back form on the all-weather, but it was amongst lesser company, and naturally, over longer. Glancing at the lifetime form of the 2011 Melbourne Cup second, and you really get to wondering how he will handle a drop to 2,000 meters. A 7-year-old gelding, if Red Cadeaux runs in the Dubai World Cup, it will be the shortest race of his career since a May 2009 maiden race at Ripon over 1,800 meters.
It is worth noting that none of the 26 runners expected to run at the Dubai World Cup meeting under the care of Saeed bin Suroor or Mahmood Al Zarooni are likely to be seen preparing for the races by international media this week. Instead, these horses are based at either Al Quoz (situated just north of Meydan) or Marmoom Stables (south of Meydan, in the desert). The first opportunity to see a Dubai World Cup meeting Godolphin starter is when they appear in the parade ring at the races.
More international runners are due to arrive in the UAE on Saturday and should make their first appearance on course Monday or Tuesday.