x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Asiatic Boy is still right on course

Well we certainly had a pleasing Super Thursday at Nad Al Sheba last week with virtually all our runners performing with distinction.

Well we certainly had a pleasing Super Thursday at Nad Al Sheba last week with virtually all our runners performing with distinction. They, of course, included Asiatic Boy who won the night's feature and proved himself well on course for his crack at the Dubai World Cup - in which he was second last year. A few detractors knocked him after his defeat the previous time but we have always maintained you will see the 100 per cent fit Asiatic Boy. His preparation has gone as well as we could have hoped and all is on track.

Honour Devil could yet join him in the big race; his preparation has been nowhere near as smooth and his second was very pleasing. He has a lot of improvement yet to come. Kevin (Shea) gave Front House a great ride to win the Dubai City of Gold and she will be a big runner in the Sheema Classic on the big night, while King of Rome and Macarthur should join her in that race. Russian Sage was a good second in the Jebel Hatta and is Dubai Duty Free bound, giving us a strong hand with Archipenko already qualified - and you never know, Imbongi may yet get an invite. But it was a Super Thursday for us.

Racing at Jebel Ali on Friday provides a last chance for the sprinters to earn an invite to the Golden Shaheen on World Cup night and we run three in the Jebel Ali Sprint. We won it last year with Drift Ice and Warsaw is probably our best chance this year - though we do have Frankie Dettori on Frosty Secret! It is going to be strange around Nad Al Sheba for a week or so with the vast majority of carnival horses having left and the World Cup meeting ones, on the whole, yet to arrive. We will just get on with our business as usual, though I am looking forward to the proposed opening of the 'tapeta' synthetic training track in the next week or so - just to give us an alternative for the horses - variety being the spice of life and all that.

We do use our equine treadmill a lot, and have access to the equine swimming pools, but an alternative training track has been sorely missed by all this year. This is the period we just hope to get all our big night runners there in one piece so it is baited breath every morning when they pull out of their box and during or after exercise. Hopefully we will have 10 or maybe 11 runners on the night.

The English and Irish in particular have been looking forward to the big Cheltenham Festival in the UK this week which brings back memories of a few years ago when one of my old horses ran there - and I kept a share. We all converged on the clubhouse at Nad Al Sheba to watch him. He ran well but failed to trouble the judge. Looking at the UK and I see it has been wet and I see there was snow in Ireland at the weekend. Some of our horses are going into quarantine shortly for their trip to Newmarket - so I hope the weather improves by the time I follow them!

With the World Cup signifying the last race to be held at Nad Al Sheba before the event moves to Meydan next year, we expect Godolphin to be back in the UK and it will be interesting to see how they get on. @Email:sports@thenational.ae