DUBAI // Martin Talty is looking forward to seeing Shocking become the first Melbourne Cup winner to contest a race in Dubai when he makes a bid to capture the US$5 million (Dh18.3m) Group One Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night. It is likely to be the first time the four-year-old stayer, who edged out Godolphin's Crime Scene in the famous race last week, will compete outside of Australia.
"He's good now and he will be even better in the Autumn at Dubai World Cup time," said Talty, Dubai Racing Club's (DRC) international manager. "Shocking is by Street Cry so he has the breeding. He's won the world's most famous handicap and we are all looking forward to seeing how he performs in Group One company among a top-class, international field of horses all carrying the same weight." Talty spoke to Shocking's trainer, Mark Kavanagh, in a meeting the day before the Melbourne Cup, saying that if the horse won, he would be invited to Dubai.
"There's no doubt he stays two miles," said Talty, who is responsible for finding the best international talent to compete on Dubai World Cup night. "But he's probably even better over a mile-and-a-half - the Sheema Classic distance." Group One victory in Dubai would represent Shocking's first international win and consolidate his status as a world-class stayer. He would also make history. "We have never had a Melbourne Cup-winner compete in Dubai before and I think I am right in saying you would have to go back to Phar Lap in 1930 to find a winner that even contested an international campaign. Phar Lap won a race in the US, but he didn't do it in the same season," said Talty.
Talty has also extended an invitation to Shocking's stablemate, Whobegotyou. Laurence Eales, who owns both horses, is keen to see what they can do on the international stage with Dubai his preferred venue. Shocking's victory was a shining light in what was a torrid Melbourne Cup Carnival for jockey-turned-trainer Kavanagh, who had seen many of his stable stars fail to fire in the run-up to Australia's biggest race.
Group One-winning Whobegotyou, favourite for the 1m 2f Tatts Cox Plate, lumbered home a disappointing sixth and Maldivian was withdrawn from Cup-qualifier, the Caulfield Cup, after rearing in the starting gate and sustaining a 15cm gash on his head when he tangled with television equipment. So when Shocking, whose only victory prior to the Melbourne Cup was the Group Three Lexus Handicap Stakes, flashed home less than a length in front of Crime Scene and the fast-finishing Mourilyan from Herman Brown's yard, Kavanagh breathed a sigh of relief.
Now Shocking has the chance to claim what is regarded as one of the toughest turf mile-and-a-half challenges in the world. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org