where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2023-03-21 11:41:27  
Irish Maestro Goes Through his World Cup team

Aidan O’Brien runs through his squad for Dubai World Cup night, all the Tuesday trackwork news

Tuesday trackwork notes

Group 1 Dubai Turf (sponsored by DP World)

Seasoned DWC-watchers were pleasantly surprised to see Aidan O’Brien’s three-string squad arrive at the end of last week, meaning they cleared quarantine earlier and have been out on the main track since Monday.

Order Of Australia heads the team in terms of career successes, and the former Breeders’ Cup Mile hero comes here off the back of a confidence-boosting success in Doha.

Order Of Australia failed to run his race in a first attempt at 2,000 metres in Hong Kong last December but O’Brien is hopeful the 1,800 metres here will suit the six-year-old.
O’Brien said: “He’s in good form. He is up to nine furlongs but he has come out of his win in Qatar very well. He has done plenty of work since and he should run a very good race.”

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Real World: “He needed the race last time in the Jebel Hatta, it was first run since June last year and he was only 80 to 85 per cent fit. Things did not go his way early in the race on Super Saturday, but we knew he would improve from then to now. He worked very well on Sunday and we believe he will run a much better race in the Dubai Turf - but he will need to as it is a very good race. Oisin Murphy rides and he is one of the best jockeys in the world.”

Among the rivals to Order Of Australia and Real World, Junko strode out well at the end of his first encounter with the turf track, cantering in behind fellow Andre Fabre challenger Botanik (Dubai Sheema Classic).
Last season’s narrowly-beaten third, Vin De Garde, joined Serifos among a large contingent of Japanese workers on the main track, along with Glorious Dragon for Hong Kong and popular British-trained veteran, Sir Busker.


Group 1 Dubai World Cup (sponsored by Emirates Airline)

Recently retired Japanese champion jockey Yuichi Fukunaga was the headline act at Meydan on Tuesday morning. While his final race ride came in Saudi Arabia last month, he is still riding trackwork, partnering Group 1 Japan Cup winner Vela Azul in a spin on the dirt ahead of his assignment in the 2,000m feature.

Fukunaga said of the Kaoruhiko Watanabe trainee: “He’s settled in well and I think he’s feeling very similar to when he is at Ritto [training centre in Japan]. Everything is going to plan and I felt today like he really enjoyed the dirt surface here. He is looking great and I think he feels even better, he is certainly in as good a condition as he can be.

“I am learning from some of the best trainers in Japan and abroad, just by watching them, observing what they do and helping out like this. It is good for me as I strive to become a trainer myself. I am learning plenty and I hope that I can return to Dubai with horses of my own in the future.”

2022 Saudi Cup winner Emblem Road enjoyed a first feel of the Meydan dirt, after which Saad Abdulwahed, assistant to trainer Ahmad Almulaway, gave his impressions of how the Quality Road five-year-old had adapted.

He said: “Today was his first morning and he looked quite happy so we’ll see how he performs. I think he is better now, though he was very well before the Saudi Cup.

"Each race has its own situation and it wasn’t our situation in the Saudi Cup. He performed well but he was very crowded during the race. I think the step up in trip will help and a faster pace would suit him better.”

Bhupat Seemar, trainer of Bendoog: "He worked in company on Monday morning as he is not the best work horse in the world. I thought he did really well for himself this morning finishing up strongly through the wire."


Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic

Yuichi Fukunaga, who earlier partnered Vela Azul, was also legged up aboard defending champion Shahryar for a spin on the dirt. Fukunaga was closely associated with Shahryar earlier in his career, winning the 2021 Group 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) aboard the Hideaki Fujiwara-trained star.

Fukunaga said: “His condition is good, I am told that the stable staff are thinking he’s back in the same form as last year. He has worked as planned so far and he is showing how much he enjoys being overseas. Having had that experience last year will be so important this time around and I think he is proving it at the moment.”

Thady Gosden was over at the training track to watch Mostadhaf canter on the Tapeta along with Dubai Gold Cup hopeful Trawlerman and Lord North, who will seek a hat-trick in the Dubai Turf on Saturday.

Gosden said: “All three horses have gone for a canter on the training track this morning. This is their first day out of quarantine, so they’ve just had a nice stretch to ease them into things. Both Mostahdaf and Trawlerman ran in Saudi last month, but they have been back home since for a couple of weeks and then all three travelled over here on Saturday.

“For the rest of the week we’ll do a mixture between the training track and the main track and we’ll canter them on the grass to allow them to get a feel of things. Hopefully everything goes smoothly. All three of them have travelled before which is a plus and this is Lord North’s third season here, so he knows the place well. All three of them seem to be adapting well since arriving here.”

Douglas Whyte, Hong Kong’s 13-time champion jockey, rode at this meeting on five occasions with his best finish a second on Peniaphobia in the 2015 Al Quoz Sprint. He makes his maiden appearance on Dubai World Cup night as a trainer, saddling up Russian Emperor, a winner of the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m) who also took out the H.H. The Amir Trophy in Qatar last month.

The legendary rider partnered his charge in a turf course gallop on Tuesday morning alongside his compatriot and rival, the Caspar Fownes-trained Senor Toba.

Whyte said: “He felt really well and he’s thriving over here. He’s holding his weight, his appetite has been fantastic, I just think the travel has switched him on again. It’s like a freshen up for him. That’s it now, he’ll just have a couple of canters on the dirt but that was his major hit-out and I think he’s ready.

“I ran him in the Jebel Hatta earlier this month (where he finished fifth). It’s certainly not normal for me to back him up within two weeks, especially with the travel from Doha as well, but it would have been a five-week gap between Qatar and the Dubai Sheema Classic and I thought that would have been stretching it a little. Running him there gave him experience with the track, going left-handed, he got to see all of the little intricacies of Meydan like the saddling enclosure and it just allowed him to keep ticking over.

"He finished off the race really well from last, he reeled off some good sectionals and that’s going to set him in good order for Saturday where the three weeks between runs is ideal.”


Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (sponsored by Nakheel)

Tadhg O’Shea, jockey of Switzerland: “He’s moving like a gazelle out there. He had his last major preparations last week so we just gave him a blow on Monday. He’s such a class horse, and he knows when he is going to work. We just went an easy 3 furlongs which I got the last eighth mile in 10.90 and he did it like nothing. He is coming into this race equally as good as he went into last year [when winning]

Bhupat Seemar, trainer of Sound Money: “With just three weeks between Super Saturday and the Shaheen, we just wanted to give him an easy three furlongs work on Monday. He seems to have really come out of the win in the Mahab Al Shimaal (G3) very well and we look forward to this race and really look forward to seeing him next year as well.”

Amanda Olds, assistant to Steve Asmussen, trainer of Gunite: “He had his final breeze on Sunday. Went well. Just an easy skip, well within himself. He’s doing really well since arriving from Saudi Arabia. He’s quieted down and the track plays a little faster which he seems to really enjoy.”


Group 2 UAE Derby (sponsored by Atlantis The Royal)

Excitement has been building around the chances of Cairo ever since his winning return to action on the all-weather at Dundalk at the start of the month, with Aidan O’Brien eyeing the chance to add to three victories in this race, most recently with Mendelssohn in 2018

O’Brien said: “We are very happy with him since Dundalk, everything has gone well. We were delighted with his run then [in the Listed Patton Stakes on 3rd March] and we thought he would come forward plenty from it and we have been happy with his work since. He is running over a distance further than he has run before, but we think and hope that he should run a very big race.”


Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by AZIZI Developments

Johnny Murtagh, trainer of Ladies Church: “Her prep has gone well. One more piece of work between now and the big day but she’s been happy out there. It was always the plan to give her one run before the Al Quoz and she was beaten a short head [in the Group 2 Blue Point Sprint on February 10]. It will be a much better race at the weekend, but she will have improved herself and stepping up to six furlongs from five won’t be a problem.”

Roger Horgan, assistant to Brendan Walsh, trainer of Cazadero: “All is well with ‘Caz’ and in my opinion, he is getting better by the day. He is eating everything in sight which is always a good sign, and he’s got great energy so our camp is happy on all fronts. We participated in the schooling session last night and he was a total professional.”


Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (sponsored by Al Tayer Motors)

This edition features a pair of horses from top stables with Group-level form at 2,400m who could enjoy a class edge if their stamina can be stretched out to 3,200m.

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Passion And Glory: “He’s very well, in good form. He has kept improving as he has got older. He always raced better right-handed which is why we ran him twice in Bahrain over recent times. He won there a few weeks ago and was second in the big international race there in November.

“He also has to step up in distance from 12 furlongs to two miles but he ran well in this race last year finishing fifth and I think he is a better, more experienced horse now so we are hopeful he can improve on that run again.”

Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Broome: “He’s been in good form since his last run in Qatar. We think the step-up in trip will suit him, his work has been good, and he seems to have travelled out well. We are looking forward to seeing how he goes over the two miles, but we believe it should suit him.”

Karl Burke, trainer of Al Qareem: “We had a wide draw in Saudi and luckily we had a man like Ryan Moore on board. Ryan came in and said he ended up giving him an easy run round. He was stuck wide so he tucked him in and the race just unfolded wrong for him. He got in a box and couldn’t get out of it.

Consequently he’s stepped forward rather than having a hard race. He’s travelled over well and stepped off the plane in great shape. He’s trained well and he’s definitely taken a step forward. I’m very happy with what I’ve seen this morning.”

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