DUBAI // Maritimer, a highly-regarded Canadian colt, has touched down in the desert ahead of his expected run in the US$2 million (Dh7.3m) UAE Derby on World Cup day.
Maritimer was spending time in Florida before stepping up his training for May's Kentucky Derby when he was purchased by Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen president, from breeder and owner, Howard Walton.
Maritimer, who is expected to be named Canada's champion two year old on April 5, completed 30 days quarantine at a Florida training base before continuing his journey to Meydan Racecourse.
He has now been transferred into the care of Herman Brown, the Blue Stables trainer.
"He's a spectacular looking horse," said Brown, who had watched videos of Maritimer but was seeing him in the flesh for the first time yesterday morning. "He looks to have a nice temperament, too, because we were leading him up in very windy, sandy conditions yesterday and he didn't bat an eye."
Brown said Maritimer would go straight to the March 31 Derby without a prep race.
"I'd asked them to keep him ticking over in Florida but not gallop him because I wanted to get him here safe and sound. I'd say he was 70 to 80 per cent fit," said the South African, who addd that it was hard to translate Maritimer's Canadian form into Dubai terms.
"It's difficult to say how the form will stack up but he looked very impressive when he won over there. A lot of people in Canada are excited about him and let's not forget that Northern Dancer [the hugely successful 1960s racehorse and influential sire] came out of Canada."
Brown said it was too early to say whether Maritimer will contest Canada's CAN$1m (Dh3.6m) Queens Plate in June.
"I wouldn't rule it out, but its early days yet," said the trainer.
Jennifer Morrison, a Canadian racing pundit, said Canada's racing industry would be following Maritimer's progress in Dubai.
"There will be a lot of interest in how he does over there since he is a true-blue Canadian colt from one of the smaller stables here in Ontario," she said.