Dubai World Cup 1996 memories: Harold James Bond, trainer of third-placed L’Carriere
Ahead of the 20th running of the Dubai World Cup on Saturday, Geoffrey Riddle gathers the recollections of the men who figured prominently on the night the world’s richest horse race was launched.
I was 37 and had just started training for Mrs [Virginia Kraft] Payson, who owned L’Carriere. We had been beaten by Cigar in the Breeders’ Cup Classic the previous year but I had hoped that L’Carriere would be able to beat Cigar, because he had developed a foot problem.I had never travelled a horse, so there was a lot to think about and it was completely uncharted territory for all of us.
L’Carriere was in really good shape and I really felt that we could win in Dubai. Cigar was stabled across the way from us before we left and all I could do was look across at him and keep saying that we were going to beat him this time.
I had never travelled out of America before, so it was little scary to be going, and my wife and Mrs [Virginia Kraft] Payson consulted a few travel books about what to wear and some of the customs that we might expect there.
We had two young children at the time and decided to leave them behind.
It was a magic carpet ride for the next few days. Sheikh Mohammed was an amazing host and could not have made us feel any more welcome.
One day they covered a whole beach with rugs and the band Simply Red played to a crowd; it was my wife’s favourite band at the time. There was a desert party where we all had camel rides.
The whole thing was just a trip of a lifetime and completely over the top.
During the race I had hoped that he might be good enough and that he might like it out there more than most, but in the end he just wasn’t good enough.
He was a real fighter and always gave his all. When I watch the replays of the race I still think what a great achievement it would have been to have beaten Cigar. He really was an amazing horse and he beat us again later that year in the Woodward Stakes.
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