x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Dubai World Cup trackside notebook

Getting up to speed on an artificial surface and the likelihood of a first filly win in the UAE Derby.

Golden Shaheen

Euroears is known as a speedball but his trainer, Bob Baffert, warned that the Tapeta might soak up a little of that renowned pace.

"You don't bring a horse all this way from the US unless you think you have a chance of winning. My horse is very fast and has gone well on Tapeta but you just can't tell until they race on it," said the two-time World Cup winner.

Carl O'Callaghan, who trained Kinsale King to Golden Shaheen success last year, said he was relishing another shot. "My horse is the exact same weight as he was before he won the race last year," said the US-based Irishman.

O'Callaghan also said he would not take another shot at Royal Ascot this season and instead head to sprint races in Asia. "I think I would like to try Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia," he said. "If you have the horse to travel, why not travel?"

UAE Derby

Between them, Mike de Kock and Saeed bin Suroor have won every running of the UAE Derby. And no filly has ever won it. So does the fact that both de Kock and bin Suroor saddle fillies mean that statistic is likely to change this season?

De Kock, who has won six UAE Derby titles and sends out Mahbooba, Reem and Zanzamar, was confident yesterday without being bullish. "The fillies' form is stronger than that of the colts and I prefer Mahbooba to Reem. But this is a very competitive race and it's going to be tough to win with the likes of Aidan O'Brien's Master Of Hounds and John Gosden's Utley," he said.

Bin Suroor saddles Khawlah, the UAE Oaks winner.

Godolphin Mile

The Godolphin Mile is dominated by locally trained horses with champion trainer Ali Rashid al Raihe, Abdullah bin Huzaim, Musabah al Muhairi and Satish Seemar all represented. Seemar tipped his Mile contender, Conveyance, as his best chance today.

"I was really delighted with his prep run behind Bankable in the Mahab al Shamal," said Seemar. "And he's a two-time Group Three winner in the US. He needs a good pace but I think he is my best chance."

Al Quoz Sprint

JJ The Jet Plane's work rider has sent out a warning to his horse's jockey, Bernard Fayd'herbe. "If he doesn't win by three or five lengths then the jockey hasn't ridden him properly given how he feels right now,"

Everisto Nyambo said yesterday morning. Rick Dutrow Jr's Stradivinsky is the horse in the line-up most likely to be looking for treats at track work, according to assistant trainer Michelle Nevin.

"I love horses like this guy because he doesn't want to eat grass over there when there's people over here," she said. "He'd rather just hang here and hope he can hustle somebody for treats. And if anybody wants a cuddle, he's always up for that, or a smooch."

Dubai World Cup

Modern trainers often take a forensic approach to racing; they weigh, time and monitor their horses incessantly. So there was a bit of surprise when Twice Over trainer Henry Cecil, who took out his licence in 1969, described his way of doing things.

When asked how heavy Twice Over was in comparison to last year, the 10-time British champion trainer said: "I never weigh my horses so I wouldn't know. I like to think I know they are well just by looking at them. It sounds very amateurish."

The fireworks display tonight is expected to be impressive, and Japanese trainer Takayuki Yasuda is taking precautions with Transcend. "We will give him a double hood for the fireworks," he said.