US trained horses in good position
24 March 2016, Dubai, UAE ~ Saturday’s 2016 $10m Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates promises to be a cracker with a formidable American challenge appearing to hold the strongest hand. Horses trained in the USA have won the world’s most valuable horse race on nine occasions while Godolphin-owned horses have won the race six times, so Godolphin’s Frosted (USA) trained by Kiaran McLaughlin in America has a lot in his favor. McLaughlin, a former multiple UAE Champion Trainer, has a Dubai World Cup victory to his name already, having won the race in 2007 with Invasor for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Frosted has made one start in the UAE, breaking the 1900m dirt track record when landing the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 in early February. That was supposed to be his first of two prep races but, so impressive was he, McLaughlin decided to miss Super Saturday and Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3.
“The original idea was to run twice before Saturday,” said McLaughlin. “We thought he would need his first run to put him spot on but he won so well in the middle round of the Maktoum Challenge we decided to keep him fresh and go straight for the Dubai World Cup.
“He has been in great form since so we are really excited about Saturday. The draw (nine) was kind and he must have a big chance.”
Runner-up in the 2015 Dubai World Cup was California Chrome (USA), back for another crack this year with connections adopting a different approach. Last year he arrived only the week before and was arguably unlucky in the way the race panned out, having chased a searching early gallop set by Japan’s Hokko Tarumae (JPN).
That Japanese rival is back in opposition again but California Chrome looks a different proposition this time. The Art Sherman-trained runner arrived this year in late January and has a Meydan win to his name, a handicap over the same 2000m as Saturday’s race.
An unorthodox preparation, you might think, but actually the same route taken by the 2008 Dubai World Cup winner, Curlin. He won the equivalent handicap that year, at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, before landing the world’s richest horse race.
“We brought him over earlier this year,” said assistant trainer, Alan Sherman who has been supervising the horse’s preparation. We just felt he would have longer to acclimatize and it would be to his benefit. He won his comeback at home and again on his return here. The idea was to have the Dubai World Cup as his third run of 2016 as we really think, after a break, the third run back is the time a horse will peak. Hopefully, that will be the case on Saturday. He missed a lot of last year but he returned to training a far bigger, stronger, horse. We could not be more happy with him.”
Art Sherman was present for Wednesday’s draw and said: “I had the penultimate choice so went for stall 11. A wide draw should not matter if you have the right horse and we think we do. He has plenty of tactical speed so stall 11 should not be an inconvenience.”
Other US horses in the race are Keen Ice trained by Dale Romans (stall 1), Mshawish trained by Todd Pletcher (stall 2), Candy Boy trained by Doug Watson (stall 6), Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity (stall 10), and the KSA entry Teletext trained by S Al Harabi (stall 12).
Hokko Tarumae, a definite potential pace angle in the race, will depart from stall eight. His trainer, Katsuichi Nishiura said: “We’re glad to come back here after a brave run last year. Number eight is a lucky number. From that post we can break to see what the other horses are doing and position ourselves accordingly.”
Frosted: Frosted was the standout winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and represents a strong chance in the Dubai World Cup on Saturday.Credit: Dubai Racing Club // Mathea Kelley
Chrome: Dubai World Cup favorite, California Chrome trains at Meydan on Thursday morning.
Dubai Racing Club // Andrew WatkinsPhoto: