x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sepoy getting back to his best in time for Newmarket outing

Mahmood Al Zarooni struggles to explain why the four-year-old colt struggled at Meydan, but believes the horse is recovered and ready to impress again.

Sepoy gets a workout at Meydan Racecourse
Sepoy gets a workout at Meydan Racecourse

Mahmood Al Zarooni believes that Sepoy is back to the sort of form that saw him rated as the best three-year-old sprinter in the world last season.

The four-year-old colt arrived in the UAE in March with ten wins in 12 starts before running poorly in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Although he ran in the Godolphin blue silks, he was trained by Australian Peter Snowden and trailed in 14 and half lengths behind Krypton Factor.

Now with Mahmood Al Zarooni, Sepoy is to run in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

"He is ready to run. The plan was to never have a prep race. We always have targeted to run in the July Cup," Al Zarooni told The National. "He's a good horse and he's back now. He did a piece of work on Saturday and he's showing that sort of form [he had in Australia]."

Al Zarooni had little explanation as to why Sepoy ran so flat at Meydan Racecourse, although he alluded to the Tapeta surface being a possible explanation.

Monterosso's disappointing defeat in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday now means that all four thoroughbred winners on the surface on Dubai World Cup night ran poorly on their subsequent start.

African Story, the Godolphin Mile winner, was sixth in the BMW Champions Mile at Sha Tin in May, Daddy Long Legs was pulled up in the Kentucky Derby, having taken the UAE version while Krypton Factor floundered in the soft ground at Kranji in Singapore in the International Sprint.

"I don't know why he ran like he did at Meydan," Al Zarooni continued. "The surface, or sometimes when they travel they get really down. It is long way to Dubai from Australia. That's why I think he ran like he did.

"When he arrived here [in Newmarket] he was a bit down. We gave him an easy time to recover. He has recovered and is in good form."

In contrast, Game On Dude and Richard's Kid were examples of horses that struggled on the Tapeta at Meydan on World Cup night but then returned to form away from Dubai. Game On Dude finished 12th of 13 behind Monterosso in the world's most valuable race while Richard's Kid was sixth behind African Story.

Both subsequently returned to winning ways in America and fought out the finish to Saturday night's Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on the cushion track at Hollywood Park.

Game On Dude virtually made all at the Californian track under Chantal Sutherland, who became the first woman to win the race, and the pair finished a length and a half clear of Richard's Kid, also trained by Bob Baffert, and jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Game On Dude wins automatic entry to the $US5million Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita in November. Game On Dude and Sutherland were beaten into second by Drosselmeyer in the race last year.

"They both ran a great race," Baffert told the Miami Herald. "I'm proud of them both and I'm happy for Chantal. I could tell she was pretty nervous."


twitter Follow @SprtNationalUAE and Geoffrey Riddle on Twitter.