Talismanic presents a great opportunity for Andre Fabre to etch his name on the Dubai World Cup roll of honour list.
Fabre has enjoyed much success as a racehorse trainer around the world, having won some of the biggest prizes in Europe and North America, but success at Dubai’s flagship race has eluded him.
The Frenchman runs Talismanic, the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf winner, in the US$10 million (Dh36.7m) race. From the colour of the caps, he appears to be the first choice of the two Godolphin runners at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.
Thunder Snow, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, is the Dubai-based racing operation's other runner in the 10-horse field.
Talismanic, the five-year-old bay son of Medaglia d'Oro, arrived in Dubai with a career record of eight victories in 18 starts, and having finished either second or third, seven times.
The horse with a striking white face was runner up to the Aidan O’Brien-trained Highland Reel in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase on December 12 a little more than a month after his success at the Del Mar racetrack in California.
According to Lisa-Jane Graffard, who looks after Godolphin’s interests in France, Talismanic emerged as a potential runner at the World Cup after his victory in the Breeders’ Cup.
“Andre suggested it after he came back from the Breeders’ Cup as a potential long-range target,” she said.
“The horse has wintered really well and looks in great condition. He appears to have fully recovered from his trips to Del Mar and Hong Kong."
However, Talismanic is in uncharted waters as he tackles Meydan's dirt track for the first time.
“The [Dubai World Cup] is the target for him now as the horse appears to have some aptitudes which would suggest it’s worth trying him on dirt,” Graffard said. “In regularly training, albeit doing steady work at Del Mar, he showed a very easy action on the dirt track there.
“He’s also a horse who is easy to place in his races and can line up with the pace and is by a top-class dirt stallion. He has an excellent temperament and is a good traveller, adapting to different situations easily.
“It’s a big step into the unknown, but Andre Fabre is very talented at pinpointing objectives that might not seem obvious to anyone else.”
Talismanic is drawn at Gate No 7 and will be ridden by Mickael Barzalona.
Fabre has three other runners in the nine-race card. He has Rosa Imperial in the $1m Group 2 Godolphin Mile and Cloth Of Stars in the $6m Dubai Sheema Classic - both in the silks of Godolphin. Trais Fluors is the other and runs in the $6m Group 1 Dubai Turf.
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