$35m at stake as equine stars descend on Meydan - GulfToday

$35 million at stake as equine stars descend on Meydan


Audible came to the track in his usual time to gallop twice around.

DUBAI: The who’s who of the horse racing fraternity from across the globe will converge on Meydan as the biggest sporting event of the year, the $35m Dubai World Cup – making it the world’s richest race day – unfolds on Saturday.

The trio of Saeed Bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby and along with jockey William Buick will lead the Godolphin charge across the nine races.

Having provided Saeed Bin Suroor his eighth Dubai World Cup success last year, Thunder Snow, already the only horse to have won the UAE Derby and the Dubai World Cup, bids to become the first dual winner of the world’s richest horse race on Saturday.

“This has been his target since the Breeders’ Cup in November,” Bin Suroor said.

“The plan was always to wait for Super Saturday when he pleased us to put him spot on for Saturday. We have been very pleased with his work and he is in great form. We would have preferred a lower draw but he drawn wide last year.”

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm laughed as Audible briefly emerged from the fog that descended over Meydan Racecourse on Friday morning, only to be shrouded again as he went through his gallop ahead of Saturday’s Dubai World Cup. As he stood on the rail and took in what he could of Audible in advance of Saturday’s signature test, Walden tucked into the fact that what he has seen from the son of Into Mischief since arriving in Dubai confirmed to him that the colt was as ready as he could be for his international test.

Under exercise rider Amelia Green, Audible came to the track in his usual time to gallop twice around. He paused for a handful of moments to observe the onlookers before getting into his routine and showcasing the good flesh he had maintained throughout his venture.

“He went well, he looked happy. You like to see them happy and bright and it doesn’t always go that way,” said Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm, which co-owns Audible along with China Horse Club, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners.

“When you come this far, it is a bit of relief. Hopefully he can come back to himself a little bit. His last race was disappointing, the last two races really, but hopefully he’ll come back to himself here.”

Based at the iconic Zabeel Stables, trainer Satish Seemar and stable jockey Richard Mullen are having a wonderful UAE racing season, which is in no small part related to the success—and sheer dominance—of yard star North America. The massive son of Dubawi will once again line up in the $12 million event, but this time is the co-favourite in the race with arch rival Thunder Snow after two front-running one-sided victories thus far this season in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 and 2 (both Group 2). There is no small sense of redemption at stake here, as North America was the choice of many tipsters last year, but failed to break and gifted an uncontested lead to the ultimately successful aforementioned foe.

The key to getting Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul through his final day of training before the Dubai World Cup was sticking to the same routine he has kept all week, according to trainer Dallas Stewart. As he has done all week, the 6-year-old Perfect Soul horse came on the track and galloped once around in the dense fog.

“We’re keeping to our plan,” Stewart said. “We’re not changing anything now.”

Stewart will once again partner with Mike Smith, one year after teaming up for a fifth-place finish with Forever Unbridled.

“You can’t get too far behind on this track, because you’re not going to make up ground and it’s ‘See you next year,’” Stewart said.

Trainer Simon Foster reported Dolkong was doing well just one day before the big occasion.

“He just did a quiet lap of the training track as planned this morning, Foster said.

“All well. We’re ready to go and delighted to be there.”

Meanwhile, as with the rest of the week, Antonio Sano’s 5-year-old Gunnevera kept it casual on the dirt track as he returns for the race for the second time. Instead of Joel Rosario, who was aboard 12 months ago when Gunnevera took eighth after a troubled preparation, Sano has decided to give his fellow Venezuelan-born Emisael Jaramillo the big-race mount.


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