x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sir Henry Cecil to skip Dubai World Cup over track issue

Participation of Twice Over is unlikely, as trainer's contention is that horses running from outside positions have no chance due to early first turn while running at Meydan Racecourse.

Sir Henry Cecil says he is unlikely to enter horses in the Dubai World Cup again if something is not done about what he perceives as a track bias against outside post positions at Meydan Racecourse.

His argument, which has been shared by others, is that the first turn in the 2,000-metre race comes so quickly that horses in the outside positions are at a competitive disadvantage.

Cecil, the trainer, has been a visitor to Dubai for the past two seasons to prepare Twice Over for the US$10 million (Dh36.7m) race. In March 2010, the six year old drew the 11th post position and finished 10th. This past March, Twice Over again started wide, in stall 12, and received a bump in the first turn and finished ninth.

"It is a marvellous race. I may contest it again one day, but Twice Over doesn't deserve that again," Cecil said. "The start must be further back before they get to the bend. Where I have been drawn I've got no chance at all. So I'm not going to prepare a horse for a race in which I've got no chance. That's it for the moment.

"You can't go with 14 runners and come to a bend. Drawn 14 you've got no chance. I thought I had him really well for last time."

Officials at Meydan were unavailable for comment on Thursday.

The Dubai World Cup starts and finishes in front of the grandstands. Once the gates open, the field runs a little more than 200m before the first sweeping left-hand turn. They then settle into the back straight before another left-hand turn takes them into the 400m finishing straight.

On Saturday, Twice Over lines up beside stablemate Midday in the British Champion Stakes at Ascot. The pair finished first and second in the Juddmonte International at York in August and have been prepared with tomorrow's feature contest in mind ever since.

Cecil was also concerned about the draw for the 10 furlong race at Ascot, with 12 horses declared on Thursday including Godolphin's Casamento and Dubai Prince.

Ascot is a right-handed galloping track, which is essentially a testing triangle. The field must negotiate a sharp bend coming out of what is often referred to as "Swinley Bottom", before settling into the finishing straight.

"I think Saturday's race is going to be very much a draw race. I think it will be critical where you are drawn. If you are on the outside, you will be severely compromised. It could get messy going into Swinley Bottom and it won't be smooth for the jockeys," Cecil said.

"I adore Twice Over as a horse. He's got a lovely head and lovely eyes. When a horse has been with you for a long time you get very attached to them. It's the same as National Hunt. They become friends over time. He is much better as the year goes on.

"This is always the best time of the year for Twice Over and he is better than ever."

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