where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-03-29 15:00:10  
Nation behind Kazakhstan Horse

The countdown is on to the Dubai World Cup meeting, which begins in just under 24 hours
$12,000,000 Group 1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (2000m, dirt)

It may seem that the whole of Kazakhstan - population 20 million - is behind Kabirkhan’s unlikely bid for World Cup glory, but there is one Kazakh who will be doing everything in his power to shatter his country’s dreams.

That man is Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, the Kazakh prodigy who - like Kabirkhan - has risen from the stables dotted around the provincial Almaty Racecourse to tackle one of the world’s great races.

However, while Murzabayev is parochial about his home country, he is also not too disappointed about his opportunity to play the spoiler.

“I left Kazakhstan just over 10 years ago,” he said. “I know that this horse Kabirkhan is running but he is now locally trained and the stable jockey will be riding him, so I am focused on my horse and I wouldn’t change him at all.

“Dura Erede, I won a Grade 1 in Japan on him when he was a two-year-old. He then finished third behind Ushba Tesoro and Wilson Tesoro in the Tokyo Daishoten last year. His preparation has been good in the mornings, while I have also been trying to prepare after the winter. I rode one race each at Meydan and Jebel Ali last month just to keep my eye in, but I have been riding a little bit in Japan too.”

Dura Erede finished almost six lengths behind Derma Sotogake in last year’s G2 UAE Derby (1900m). Murzabayev, who cast his eye over Dura Erede on Friday morning, was hoping for an outside draw to give the four-year-old his best opportunity to close that gap, but instead came up with gate three in the 12-horse field.

“I will try to go forward because he doesn't like too much kickback,” he said. “I was hoping to be wider out. Still, I will try to be in the front line or if the pace is fast then just behind the pace.”

Saudi Arabia managed to finish third in last year’s Dubai World Cup with 2022 G1 Saudi Cup (1800m) winner Emblem Road. This year, it is American Grade 1 winner Defunded who will fly their flag at Meydan Racecourse.

“It is an honour to represent Saudi Arabia on a global stage,” said trainer Abdulaziz Khalid Mishref. “Although he is not one of the leading hopes in this field, it wouldn’t surprise me if he won the race.

“At the draw, I wanted to avoid the extremes with him - nothing too far inside or outside. I was hoping for something between three and ten so I am happy with gate nine, that gives us options.” 

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