x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Meydan's Tapeta surface is a sticky issue for a few jockeys

"There is quite a lot of depth to it and it is quite sticky," says trainer John Moore, who saddles Xtension in the Dubai Duty Free. Notebook

Yutaka Take, right, will be onboard Smart Falcon.
Yutaka Take, right, will be onboard Smart Falcon.

DUBAI // The Hong Kong trainer John Moore was not the only horseman to find the racing surface at Meydan Racecourse a little hard going yesterday.

Moore, who trains the Dubai Duty Free challenger Xtension, watched as his five year old went through his paces on the Tapeta track.

Xtension is one of three horses in the 1,800-metre contest from the former British colony, with Ambitious Dragon and California Memory also to make the line-up tomorrow.

"His work on the Tapeta was exemplary but he did labour on it," Moore said.

"There is quite a lot of depth to it and it is quite sticky. For the horses to get their feet out of it takes a bit of doing."

Moore was joined in the chorus by Yutaka Take, the Japanese rider, who gave the World Cup entrant Smart Falcon a routine canter. The jockey had not ridden on the Tapeta surface before and it was the first time he had partnered his mount in any work since March 15.

"It is my first experience to work over the surface, and it is sticky and needs more power," Take said. "I mounted him for the first time since I worked him at home. He was fresh, maybe too fresh this morning and wanted to go faster at the final turn, so I jogged on the stretch.

"He did not look like he had lost some weight from the transport, which I heard from the connections."

Frank Gabriel, the chief executive of the Dubai Racing Club and Clerk of the Course, made the assurance that all would be well for World Cup day.

"Sometimes it gets that way with the heat," he said. "It changes with weather conditions. I shall consult John and Yutake and my team."

Take was slated to ride in the 2003 Dubai World Cup aboard Gold Allure, the multiple Grade 1 winner, but the horse never shipped to Dubai.

The 43-year-old jockey is delighted, however, to be riding in the big race aboard Smart Falcon, one of Gold Allure's most prolific sons and a dual winner of the Tokoyo Daishoten, the race his sire won in 2002.

"I am very proud of being here to run in the Dubai World Cup, one of the most prestige stages in the world horse racing," said Take, who rode Admire Moon to win the 2007 Dubai Duty Free. "I am very happy to come back again with the son of Gold Allure."



– Compiled by Sarah Tregoning and Geoffrey Riddle

Trainer’s ward ‘naughty’

Secret Asset, the Al Quoz Sprint contender, was given a little look at the starting gates yesterday morning by his trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam. The handsome grey skipped around in high spirits. “He’s had a track record of being a bit naughty in the stalls so we just wanted to give the starter confidence that he would behave himself on the day,” Chapple-Hyam said. “He’s doing very well and I’ve been pleased with him.”

Fourth time lucky

The Hong Kong trainer John Moore is hoping that Ambitious Dragon, the perennial rival for his Dubai Duty Free contender, Xtension, will not put his best foot forward tomorrow. Ambitious Dragon has beaten Xtension three times, including on Xtension’s last two outings. “The other horse just always seems to be in front of us but I could not be happier with the condition of our horse going into the race,” Moore said.

Balada Sale in hot form

The Argentine filly Balada Sale takes on the boys in the UAE Derby tomorrow and her trainer, France’s Pascal Barry, has professed himself pleased with her preparation. The multiple Group 1 winner, whose victories all came at the Palermo track in Buenos Aires, had a canter on the all-weather. “She is in very good form. She seems to handle the track and I think she will run well, although it’s hard to say how her Argentine form will hold up here,” Barry said.

Kadyrov adds Zazou

The World Cup runner Zazou has been purchased by the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov. The deal was registered with the Emirates Racing Authority yesterday. Zazou will run in the world’s richest race under the name of his German trainer, Waldemar Hickst. Kadyrov has five other runners on the World Cup card, Dux Scholar in the Godolphin Mile, Bronze Cannon and Mikhail Glinka in the Gold Cup, Maritimer in the UAE Derby and Green Destiny in the Dubai Duty Free.

Like father, like son

The Bob Baffert show rolls on. At the post position draw on Wednesday, Bernie Schiappa, the part-owner of Game On Dude, kept on receiving texts from the American trainer, who was lying in hospital following his heart attack on Monday. “He told me to get his son Bode interviewed, so that he could see his son on TV. After the interview he kept texting me about how great that was.”

Spotlight on Sutherland

Chantal Sutherland is generating nearly as many column inches as Baffert, and yesterday the 5ft 2 ins jockey turned up to a press conference with her new husband, 6ft 5 ins Dan Kruse. As the media pack descended on Game On Dude’s jockey, The National found time to talk to Kruse. “I am in the meat processing business,” he said. “I do at least 500,000lbs of meat a week. My grandfather set up the business in 1949.”

Lucky Nine’s woes

The Hong Kong contingent are having problems with their shoes. Lucky Nine pulled a shoe off in training this week and the trainer Caspar Fownes is struggling at the footwear options for his charge’s challenge in the Golden Shaheen. “We are still not sure what shoes he will wear in the race on Saturday but the main thing is that we have a runner and I think he is still a live chance,” he said.