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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Acquisition of 'flag-bearer' Eragon excites Farooq Racing ahead of Dubai World Cup Carnival

Racing manager Ali Farooq hopes winner of 10 races will be good enough to qualify for Dubai World Cup

Eragon competed in the Pegasus World Cup in Florida this year. Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images
Eragon competed in the Pegasus World Cup in Florida this year. Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

Farooq Racing Syndicate are hoping that new acquisition Eragon can qualify for next year’s Dubai World Cup.

Eragon is a winner of 10 races from 22 starts, including three Group 1 prizes in his native Argentina, before being sold to run in the United States.

He also competed in the inaugural US$12 million (Dh44m) Pegasus World Cup in January.

Ali Farooq, the racing manager of the syndicate, is excited about their new recruit, who he described as the “flag-bearer” for the 14 thoroughbreds in the stable.

“We are bringing him here for the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Let’s see if he qualifies for the Dubai World Cup, which would be the goal for a small stables like us,” the Emirati said.

“This is a chance we have to take. It’s very difficult to find a Group 1 winner. We have long-term plans for him as we want to run him in Singapore after the UAE season.

“There are three to four Group 1 races, including the Singapore Gold Cup in November, which we plan for him.

“He’s a fit horse and is now in the quarantine. Our investment in him is like any other racehorse, and we have to take a chance in this game.”

Farooq said it was his “gut feeling” to purchase Eragon despite the fact the horse finished last in the Pegasus Cup.

“He’s a pretty consistent horse. In the Pegasus World Cup he wasn’t on top of his game against horses like Arrogate and California Chrome,” Farooq said.

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“I saw him race and got the chance to speak to his connections and bought him. To try and win the Dubai World Cup would be a dream. You never know, things happen. That’s what horse racing is all about.

“For me, it doesn’t matter if we don’t win a race but winning a big race or a Group 1 will be enough for me for the whole season.”

Since the Pegasus Cup Eragon has placed fourth and sixth in a couple of handicaps.

“He lost his form a bit in the USA but we are hopeful he can regain his form in Dubai,” Farooq said.

“We have plans for him to be a stallion once he is done with racing. We have taken all that into consideration and I think he’s a good investment.

“Being a businessman and been in the industry for a long time, I believe in taking a chance. The plan is to run him in the Carnival and take him to Singapore soon after the UAE season concludes.”

The syndicate will run Zahrat Jumeirah – a fillies maiden – in the opener of the seven-race card at Meydan Racecourse’s third meeting tonight.

“We are hopeful she would have benefitted from her first career start,” Farooq said of the Scatt Daddy filly.

“She was sixth in a 1,200-metre Maiden in her first start and tackles the longer 1,400m this time, but she likes further, perhaps, 1,600m.

“She’s working well at home and should improve from her first run.”