Travel over oceans between continents sometimes unsettles people, and a race horse is no exception: Sweet Ducky, one of Herman Brown's runners, needed a sedative to help settle in.
Happy landings for Dubai World Cup Carnival hopefuls
Dubai // One of the Dubai World Cup Carnival contenders had to be sedated on a flight from England to the UAE after becoming worked up on the plane.
Sweet Ducky, one of Herman Brown's runners, was among 47 horses who touched down in Dubai after being transported from Europe over the past few days, and Monday the four year old looked none the worse for the trauma.
"He was apparently shouting on the flight and the vet told us he needed to tranquillise him," said Brown, who won the Dubai Duty Free with the now-retired Jay Peg in 2008. "But when I went to see him this morning he looked very fit and well. I was surprised, but he seems to have settled in much better than we could have hoped.
"It looks as if he's a bit fitter than we expected."
And Brown said he was going to try something different with Sweet Ducky this year after the colt became so worked up before his UAE Derby tilt on 2011 World Cup day that he finished down the field in 13th place in a white lather of sweat.
"We are going to take him to the races every Thursday before the first race, and get him used to the whole set up," said the South African trainer.
"If it gets to be routine every Thursday, then hopefully he will stay calm when he is actually racing. Otherwise every time we take him somewhere new he's like a lunatic. He's run his race before he even gets to the start. I think that we could get a result out of him this season if we can just calm him down."
Jim Cornes, stable co-ordinator for Dubai Racing Club, who along with the DRC team at International Stables keeps a careful eye on all the overseas horses, said Sweet Ducky had settled as soon as he got off the lorry from the airport.
"He was a bit of a handful on the flight by all accounts," Cornes said. "But once he got into his box he dropped down and had a roll and then just chilled out watching all the other horses come in, so I knew he was beginning to relax."
Another horse to land safely in Dubai ahead of the Carnival is Overdose, the Hungary sprint sensation nicknamed The Budapest Bullet. Cornes said the fleet-footed Overdose, who has won 16 of his 19 starts, looked to have settled in well.
"He looks in good form and seemed very fresh this [Monday] morning," Cornes said. "We are pleased that he seems happy to be here after a pretty long but smooth journey. It's always very good to see a horse relaxing after a flight."
Overdose is entered for Carnival races on January 20 and February 3. His connections say those dates may come a little too soon for their charge, and he may not be seen on the racetrack until February 23 or March 1.
The US$1 million (Dh3.67m) Al Quoz turf sprint over 1,000m offers a likely destination for the sprinter on World Cup night.
Also arriving in Dubai over the past two days were runners from the yard of the Irish supremo, John Oxx, including Dubawi Star and Zabarajad.
Horses conditioned by the Newmarket-based Italian, Marco Botti, who is aiming the French Group 1 winner, Planteur at the $10m Dubai World Cup, are also in country.