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DRC Notes | Vol 59 | Dubai Racing Club News & Features






American conditioner Mark Casse is excited to see what Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Sir Winston can do on his first foray overseas and the chestnut homebred of Tracy Farmer led a set of 10 USA invaders arriving at Meydan Racecourse on Wednesday afternoon. The son of Awesome Again denied fellow Dubai World Cup runner Tacitus—already on the grounds after his fifth-place run in the Saudi Cup—in the 2400m Belmont Stakes before an injury put him on the side-lines until late December.

Sir Winston returned with a non-effort (finishing 11th) in the Woodchopper Stakes (Listed) at Fair Grounds on turf before returning with an eye-catching 1600m dirt win at Aqueduct on Jan. 31. That day, he passed five horses in the stretch en route to a 2¼-length win and showed the same marked acceleration that won the Belmont. What made it even more impressive, despite against inferior opposition, was how well he adapted to a distance well below his forte.

“He’s training extremely well,” Casse said. “His last race’s (speed figure) was even bigger than his Belmont win. I was hoping for a decent race and then to try to run him one more time going farther, but he ran so well, I decided that that was all. After her got hurt after the Belmont, he came back really well. Since his (January) run, he’s been working great. We didn’t really change the way we prepare him for this race. You dance with the one who brought you. We think he deserves a chance in the Dubai World Cup.”

Others to arrive with the classic winner were fellow Dubai World Cup runners Math Wizard and War Story, the Peter Miller-trained trio of Gray Magician (Godolphin Mile), Texas Wedge (Al Quoz Sprint) and Wrecking Crew (UAE Derby), as well as Shotski (UAE Derby), Killybegs Captain (Dubai Golden Shaheen) and the Richard Mandella-conditioned duo of United (Longines Dubai Sheema Classic) and Tizamagician (UAE Derby).

The decade of competitors join 11 USA representatives already on the grounds—making for a record 21 likely American runners—including the aforementioned Tacitus and fellow Dubai World Cup contender Mucho Gusto, Dubai Golden Shaheen runners Truck Salesman, Imperial Hint and Captain Scotty, UAE Derby runners Fore Left and Rowdy Yates, Godolphin Mile runner Parsimony and Al Quoz Sprint speedsters Wildman Jack, Ghoul and Blitzkrieg.


The eye-catching ascension of Cool Silk Partnership’s Midnight Sands could lead to a victory on Dubai World Cup day in the $1.5 million Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One (G2), if all goes to plan for the 4-year-old son of Speightstown. Beginning his career with three consecutive off-the-board finishes in the UK for trainer James Given, including a 14th of 23 astern Calyx in 2018 Royal Ascot’s Coventry (G2), he resurfaced in Dubai with six-time leading trainer Doug Watson in February 2019, finishing second in a 1400m maiden as the heavy favourite. That effort was the last time he was defeated.

After winning four weeks later over 1200m, the half-brother to Tropical Turf Stakes (G3) winner Tusk was given the warm months off before returning a terror for the 2019-2020 UAE season, winning four additional races—three at 1400m and one at 1600m—by a combined 8¼ lengths. His rating increased from 82 to 108, the latter on the strength of a 3½-length, going-away handicap win over Behavioral Bias and All Out Blitz. Watson used the same 1400m Dubai World Cup Carnival handicap as a prep for 2016 Godolphin Mile winner One Man Band.

“He’s had a pretty good preparation and just worked at Meydan (Monday) morning, going a half-mile in company,” Watson said. “He’s fit and worked really well. I think he went three furlongs in about 35 seconds and four in 47 under Pat Dobbs. It was a solid work and he’ll have a nice and easy one next Monday, five days out from the race.

“He has great gate speed and can break and put himself in a good position,” Watson continued. “We just need a decent draw. I would love to be in the middle. We wanted to see him take some kickback, so we did that in the work. I think he deserves should run well and is a horse we really like.”

Watson will also start Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s Group 2 winner Kimbear in the 1600m race. It will be the son of Temple City’s third consecutive run in the race, following a sixth in 2018 behind Heavy Metal and fourth last year to Coal Front. While he is entering off a disappointing run in the Burj Nahaar (G3) on Super Saturday—a race he won in 2018—he did have the biggest win of his career at this course and distance in January in the Group 2 $350,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1.

“Kimbear is doing great and was a little close to a fast pace the other day,” Watson said. “He also had a bit of a viral infection coming out, but we treated it and he’s doing well. He’s really fit and while his last couple weren’t great runs, he has excuses for those. He’s running well and he’s really sound this year, which he wasn’t last year. He’s moving well and going the right way.”

One horse who will sadly miss the Godolphin Mile is Satish Seemar-trained North America, who led the ratings of probables until being official withdrawn from consideration earlier this week. The G1-winning son of Dubawi exited a poor effort in the Saudi Cup, one race after tearing the frog of his hoof when third to Kimbear by a head in Al Maktoum Challenge R1.

“He hurt himself in Round 1 and had recovered, but then after the Saudi Cup, we noticed he was sore in the other foot, which makes us think he was favouring while he was hurt," Seemar said. "We didn’t want to push him and he’s done enough this season. He will get a nice rest and is done for the season.”


Once-beaten Japanese Group 1 winner Chrysoberyl will lead a four-pronged attack on the $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) and has been thriving since arriving in early March after his first loss and first race outside Japan. He will be joined by Osamu Hirata-conditioned multiple G1 winner Gold Dream, Ryuji Okubo-trained stamina specialist Chuwa Wizard and Koichi Tsunoda’s world-travelling Master Fencer in the gate.

“He has travelled well to Dubai and has settled in,” trainer Hidetaka Otanashi said of U Carrot Farm’s star pupil. “Soumillon will ride him in his upcoming fast work. He didn’t break well in the Saudi Cup, so we might consider the use of a gate (handler) in the Dubai World Cup after we see his progress.”

Previously unbeaten, Chrysoberyl had a poor start in the 1800m Saudi Cup on Feb. 29, ultimately finishing seventh under Soumillon. He won the 1800m Group 1 Champions Cup in December in record time and impressively defeated Godolphin Mile hopeful Derma Louvre in his only try at 2000m when winning the Japan Dirt Derby in July. That run was his fourth of six consecutive wins to commence the son of Gold Allure’s career.

Katsumi Yoshida’s 2017 February Stakes (G1) and Champions Cup (G1) winner Gold Dream, also a son of Gold Allure, has been down this road before, having finished 14th in the 2017 Dubai World Cup astern Arrogate. He actually finished one spot ahead of Chrysoberyl in sixth in Saudi last out and was second to him in December’s Champions Cup (G1). A nine-time winner, he has carried his form admirably over five seasons thus far.

Chuwa Wizard is far less seasoned, but has proven a force over testing dirt trips, including wins in the 2000m JBC Classic (Listed), 2400m Diolite Kinen (Listed) and 2500m Nagoya Grand Prix (Listed). Fourth in Chrysoberyl’s Champions Cup three months ago, the 4-year-old son of King Kamehamehaa exits a smart victory in the Kawasaki Kinen (Listed) over 2100m on Jan. 29.

Master Fencer, popular in the USA after his respectable, history-making runs in the Kentucky Derby (sixth) and Belmont Stakes (fifth), has found new life since returning home. After a productive, if not successful, three-race foray in America, he has won two of his last three back in Japan, including a solid win over 2100m in the Kintei Stakes on Feb. 22 in a swift time of 2:11.40.