Tom Queally reports that the Dubai World Cup favourite Twice Over to have made progress since his winning appearance at Meydan on March 3.
Henry Cecil is anxious to win the US$10 million (Dh36.7m) race for his long-standing owner Prince Khalid Abdullah and he has changed his approach in training the six-year-old this time, bringing him over for a round of the Maktoum Challenge on the course.
Last year Twice Over only had the benefit of a racecourse gallop at Lingfield before finishing 10th in the World Cup, where he was undone by a combination of an unfavourable draw and bad luck in running.
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He went on to win the Coral-Eclipse and the Champion Stakes as well as placing in other key Group One races.
Queally, who described Twice Over’s appearance on the track at Meydan on Tuesday as “a routine piece of work”, said: “He’s grand. I’m happy enough with him and it’s so far, so good.
“He looks to have tightened up a little since the run and let’s just hope we get some luck this year.
“He’ll have a blow on Friday and hopefully we’ll get him there in one piece.”
Gitano Hernando has met Twice Over on a handful of occasions and the other British-trained World Cup contender is another to have been given plenty of time to get accustomed to the heat.
He was sent off favourite for last year’s race and finished sixth under Kieren Fallon but will have Johnny Murtagh in the saddle on Saturday.
The strapping chestnut was behind Twice Over in the Champion Stakes and then third to him in the Al Maktoum Challenge.
This will be his final start for Marco Botti and Team Valor, as he will switch to Herman Brown and run under the ownership of the controversial Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov.
Botti’s wife Lucia reported: “He did an ordinary canter on the Tapeta and is in very good form.
“He seems very well and is where we want him coming into the race. He has definitely improved with each of his runs here and that was always the plan.
“He has one more piece of work to do before the World Cup and he will possibly do that on Thursday. Johnny Murtagh rode him last time he raced and will again partner him this weekend.”