California Chrome to carry American hopes on Dubai World Cup night

Peter Ward 25/03/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
American hope: California Chrome.

With the international media arriving at Meydan in their droves there is, understandably, plenty of heated debate as to the likely destination of Saturday’s $10million (Dh36.7m) Dubai World Cup. 

– Epiphaneia leads a charge of seven from Japan at Dubai World Cup
– Godolphin weakened as Hunter’s Light and Sky Hunter miss out
– Richard Mullen secures champion jockey title with Al Ain win

The Japanese contingent seem hopeful their duo of Epiphaneia and Hokko Tarumae will be good enough to provide the country with a second victory in the world’s richest horse race. We local hacks are perhaps hoping Candy Boy can bring Doug Watson’s excellent season to a sweet conclusion. 

According to the bookmakers though, America hold all the aces as they seek a 10th win on World Cup night. 

Heading the market is California Chrome, winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby. His trainer, Art Sherman, is not yet in town but his son and assistant Alan is. 

Having watched his charge breeze 800m yesterday morning, he said: “We have to be pleased with that; there is no need to gallop him – if California Chrome is not fit by now we have missed the boat. He has grown and strengthened and really takes the eye now.” 

The American press were also taken with their second challenger, Lea, who did a circuit on the dirt track. Strongly fancied for the race last year, before being ruled out by a virus, he delighted Riley Mott, assistant to his father, Bill.

Meanwhile, away from prying eyes just up the road at Al Quoz, Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is putting the finishing touches to the preparations of last year’s winner African Story and stable companion Prince Bishop.

Seeking a seventh win in the race, we can only take his word when he reports: “Both worked well on Saturday, are in great condition and we are very happy with them.” On balance, maybe the race could be billed as Godolphin vs USA…

Most popular

Related Sections

Epiphaneia leads a charge of seven from Japan on Dubai World Cup night

Peter Ward 25/03/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Big night favourite: Epiphaneia, winner of the Japan Cup last, will be making his dirt debut at Meydan come Saturday.

Japan enjoyed a great night 12 months ago, winning two of the Group One turf features on the card with Gentildonna victorious in the 2,400m Dubai Sheema Classic, less than an hour after Just A Way destroyed his field in the 1,800m Dubai Duty Free.

– Godolphin weakened as Hunter’s Light and Sky Hunter miss out
– Richard Mullen secures champion jockey title with Al Ain win
– It’s Far From Over clinches feature win al Abu Dhabi meet

A team of seven have descended on Meydan this year, headed by Dubai World Cup hopefuls Epiphaneia and Hokko Tarumae. The former, who will be making his dirt debut, won last year’s Japan Cup. That success in Japan’s biggest race was achieved under Saturday’s partner, Christophe Soumillon, the only time the Belgian has ridden the horse in a race.

It is interesting connections elect to run in the big one, although the $10 million (Dh36.7m) pot may well have swayed their decision to take on this race and not the $6 million (Dh22m) Sheema Classic.

Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, he seems to have settled in well and taken to his new surroundings if his appearance during a steady canter yesterday is anything to go by.

Assistant trainer Norihiko Kishimoto said: “He has been training very well and will do a last serious gallop on the dirt track on Wednesday morning. It is great to be here representing Japan.”

Compatriot Hokko Tarumae is at least proven on dirt and was also cantering on the Meydan dirt yesterday under the watchful gaze of his big night jockey Hideaki Miyuki, who explained: “I have not actually sat on him since he arrived but I have walked on the dirt course which seems more sticky than the ones at home. That should suit him as he is a powerful mover.”

Japan are also doubly represented in the 2,400m Dubai Sheema Classic with One And Only joined in the field by the very useful filly, Harp Star. Both are Grade One winners in their homeland.

One And Only’s trainer, Kojiro Hashiguchi, flew in to Dubai yesterday morning and was able to watch his charge exercise on the dirt track. He reported: “I was pleased with that and he looks very well. He is both talented and gutsy which is always a good combination.”

One And Only’s sire, Hearts Cry, won this same race in 2006. Sadly, trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda missed Harp Star’s canter on the dirt yesterday, arriving shortly after she had finished. He said: “She had just left the track when I arrived but my staff tell me everything has gone to plan since she arrived. She will gallop properly on Wednesday.”

Ryan Moore, victorious aboard Gentildonna last year, is an eye-catching jockey booking.

The other three Japanese runners all clash in the 1,900m dirt Group 2 UAE Derby, with Moore aboard Golden Barows for trainer Noriyuki Hori.

The horse was cantering and trotting on the dirt track yesterday and pleased assistant trainer Kazutomo Mori, who said: “He was a bit tense yesterday morning but much more relaxed and happy today. It was a nice piece of exercise and he will have a schooling session at the stalls before Saturday as he has been a bit slow away in recent starts.” 

Dear Domus and Tap That complete the trio and there appears little between them judging by their clash in Grade One company last year when Dear Domus posted a narrow victory. However, both were well beaten by Golden Barows subsequently.

Most popular

Related Sections

Godolphin challenge weakened as Hunter’s Light and Sky Hunter miss out

Peter Ward 24/03/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
High hopes: James Doyle, pictured here at Ascot, has the ride on African Story

Having already lost favourite Hunter’s Light over the weekend from the Group 1 Dubai Turf, Godolphin were dealt another blow yesterday when Sky Hunter’s name did not appear among the nine declarations for the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic.

– Richard Mullen secures champion jockey title with Al Ain win
– It’s Far From Over clinches feature win al Abu Dhabi meet
– Al Marri ‘shocked’ by FEI ban on EEF

Both winners on Super Saturday just over a fortnight ago, their absence leaves a depleted Godolphin team this year but headed by African Story who will bid to become the first dual winner of the Dubai World Cup.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, he won the world’s richest race 12 months ago on the previous Tapeta surface, but did manage a course and distance victory on the new dirt conditions in Al Maktoum Challenge III on Super Saturday.

He was chased home on that occasion by stable companion, Prince Bishop, winner of the same race 12 months earlier and again in opposition.

“African Story bounced back last time having not enjoyed the dirt kickback first time this season,” said African Story’s jockey, James Doyle. “Hopefully he is now accustomed to the surface and will run a big race.”

Bin Suroor is seeking a seventh win in the race, whereas America as a country are trying to win the race for a 10th time. They are very well represented this year, with reigning Kentucky Derby champion, California Chome, a strong favourite.

He will be a first runner in the UAE for trainer Art Sherman and is joined in the nine strong field by compatriot Lea, second in the international markets and trained by Bill Mott whose Cigar won the inaugural World Cup in 1996.

Speaking from America, Sherman said: “He has taken the trip well and seems to enjoy the surface. I am told he has been gliding over the dirt which has to be a positive. We are looking forward to it.”

The Bin Suroor-trained Sky Hunter may miss the Sheema Classic, but stable companion True Story has made the final nine. However, he would appear to face a stiff task against the likes of Hongkong Superstar, Main Sequence from America and Japan’s Harp Star.

The last name looks a huge danger to all trying to emulate Gentildonna who won the race for Japan last year under Ryan Moore, aboard Harp Star this time.

Moore also looks to hold serious claims in the Dubai Turf, seemingly greater weakened as a contest after the retirement of Hunter’s Light.

He rides last year’s French Derby winner, The Great Gatsby, trained in England by Kevin Ryan and winner of the Irish Champion Stakes in September. Moore has ridden the colt on four occasions and the pair have only suffered one defeat as a combination.

Most popular

Related Sections