x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Race trainers eye Dubai's prize

A number of US-based trainers have their sights set on the world's richest night of racing as two Breeders' Cup winners are aimed at Dubai's lucrative winter season.

A number of US-based trainers have their sights set on the world's richest night of racing as two Breeders' Cup winners are aimed at Dubai's lucrative winter season. A rush of high-profile winners are making their way to the Emirates to run at the new Meydan track, which opens its doors for the first time on January 28. Mike Maker, the man behind the shock success of Furthest Land, winner of last November's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile is considering a shot at the US$10 million (Dh36.7m) Dubai World Cup on March 27 for his charge. "We hope he's good enough," Maker said of the five-year-old who triumphed over more fancied rivals in the Breeders' Cup, including Godolphin's third-placed Midshipman for jockey, Garret Gomez, and Aidan O'Brien's fourth, Mastercraftsman under newly-crowned Irish champion rider, Johnny Murtagh. Connections of California Flag, who won the Breeders' Cup Turf at the same meeting are gearing up for a shot at World Cup night's newest race, the Al Quoz Sprint worth $1m. Run on the new turf sprint, the race compliments the Dubai Golden Shaheen, run this year on the all-weather. California Flag beat Jenine Sahadi's runner-up, Gotta Have Her at Santa Anita, but was subsequently fifth in the Hong Kong Sprint having tailed off the early pace after making the running. His trainer, Brian Koriner, expects him to recover well for his Dubai campaign though. "The speed took its toll early on and he lost some weight, but he'll bounce back fast," said the handler. "We've got a long way until March." Meanwhile, English trainer, John Gosden, has sent four Princess Haya bint al Hussein-owned runners for the Dubai International Racing Carnival. Charm School, fresh from winning November's Heritage Handicap at Doncaster, joins Invisible Man, Green Beret and Cadre in the UAE. stregoning@thenational.ae