Marco Botti's Green Ridge Stables gets a powerful addition in Planteur, and at Meydan Achill Bay will once again tile against Treble Jig.
Planteur aimed at Dubai World Cup
Marco Botti's team for the Dubai World Cup Carnival has received a significant boost with the addition of Planteur to his Green Ridge Stables in Newmarket.
The high-class French colt will be aimed at the Dubai World Cup, run over 10 furlongs on March 31 at Meydan racecourse, and could prep on the inaugural Super Saturday card on March 10.
The four year old's finest hour came when the Danehill Dancer colt denied Sarafina, Cirrus des Aigles and Cape Blanco in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp in April. He also beat Rewilding in a Group 2 in 2010.
Considering those four horses subsequently won seven times at the highest level, Botti is hopeful his recruit can improve on the efforts of Gitano Hernando, who finished sixth for the trainer in the past two runnings of the world's richest race.
"He's a proper horse, and I'm really excited about running him in Dubai," Botti told The National on Friday.
"He's physically bigger than Gitano as well. It's difficult to compare them both, though, as I've only just received him. I'm not even sure who the new owner is, but he's Dubai-based and wants to go for the World Cup."
Botti's team will include Joshua Tree, who won last year's Group Canadian International and will be aimed at the Dubai Sheema Classic, and Jakkalberry, who won the Group 1 Gran Premio Di Milano at the San Siro last year is also slated to run in the Dubai Sheema Classic but could also contest the Dubai Gold Cup, the new long distance race run over 3,200m.
Following the news that Victoire Pisa, the Dubai World Cup winner, has been retired, the crown of the Japanese star will be defended by compatriot Smart Falcon after the six year old booked his ticket to the UAE with a win in the Tokyo Daishoten on Thursday.
In the UAE, Achill Bay and Treble Jig meet in a re-match in the longest race of the UAE season Saturday night at the Meydan.
The 2,800-metre Foran Cup handicap, rated 80-100, has drawn eight entries for the Dh85,000 prize
The Satish Seemar-trained Achill Bay has run three times this season, finishing third on two occasions and coming second in the other to Treble Jig by just over a length the last time out.
"I am very much looking forward to riding him on the Meydan [All-Weather] over this kind of trip, as he loves the surface and stays very well," said Richard Mullen, the stable jockey for the Zabeel Stables.
"He has three good runs under his belt already this season, stepping up in trip each time, and this race should be perfect for him.
"We are very hopeful."
The eight-year-old gelded son of Peintre Celebre chased home Treble Jig, who was receiving one-and-a-half kilos, in his last start in Abu Dhabi nearly three weeks ago. He receives a kilo from the four year old by Gone West in the re-match.
Ali Rashid Al Raihe's Monte Alto also has to give weight to his seven rivals, and Richard Hills, the retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, was hopeful rather than confident.
"Stamina is obviously a query, but we know he stays 2,400m well and handles [the surface], so it is worth a try with him," said the veteran Englishman.