Dubai World Cup: Seeking The Soul leads American charge in headline race
Five horses have made the journey from the United States to compete in the $12m race
While much of the attention in the build-up to the 2019 Dubai World Cup has been on the local trio of defending champion Thunder Snow, North America and Capezzano, take a moment to consider the five horses who have made the trip from the United States.
Seeking The Soul, who is the international favourite of the five, was among the first horses on the rain-soaked track at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday at 5am, galloping twice around.
“He did great and he’s ready,” Dallas Stewart, his trainer, said of the six-year-old, who was second behind City Of Lights in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at the Gulfstream Park in January.
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“As long as he’s doing well, he has a big chance in Dubai. He’s a really tough horse who enjoys his job. He seems to be at his peak right now and has improved with age.”
Bill Mott’s Yoshida breezed over the track later in the morning under exercise rider Penny Gardiner.
“He’s a horse that’s versatile and runs over anything,” Riley Mott, the trainer’s son and assistant, said of the five-year-old Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt.
“He just had a regular gallop and finished up down the backside. We’re just trying to keep him happy until race day. He’ll have a gallop day tomorrow and then give him a light day on race day.”
Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm and co-owner of Audible were at Meydan to watch his preparation in the morning track work.
“He has trained better in the mornings as a four-year-old than he did as a three-year-old, so that’s kind of an odd turn of events,” Walden said.
“He’s not a horse who is going to really grab you in the morning and pull as hard as he can. He’s just a cool customer. That’s still the same.”
Audible finished fifth in the Pegasus World Cup, but Walden is convinced the horse will build on that run on Saturday.
“City of Lights was going to win (the Pegasus), but (Audible) didn’t get beat too far for the rest of it,” he said. “A couple of these horses (in the Dubai World Cup – Seeking The Soul 2nd and Gunnevera 6th) were in there so we’ve got to turn the tables on them. It will be a good opportunity.”
Gunnevera is returning for a second attempt after finishing eighth behind Thunder Snow last year.
“This morning he went half a lap the opposite way of jogging and then went a lap and a half of galloping,” said Alex Sano, the trainer Antonio Sano’s son.
“It was very good, my father was happy with the work of the horse and we’re happy with the post position.
“We think No 1 (gate) is going to help him a lot as those in 2 and 3 are speed horses and are going to be going for the lead, and we are going to be saving ground on the inside.”
Pavel was fourth in the race 12 months ago, and Leandro Mora, Doug O’Neill’s assistant, said: “I was very happy with what I saw. The rider, too, was happy. He said he feels that the horse is much better than last year, which I hope is true!”
Updated: March 29, 2019 08:27 AM