Fownes Ready T0 Jump The Gun

Gun Pit represents a lively outside chance in the Dubai World Cup on Saturday

Credit: Dubai Racing Club // Neville Hopwood

Fownes Ready T0 Jump The Gun

By Jeremy Greene

Caspar Fownes has proven form at the very highest level. He has three times been crowned champion trainer in Hong Kong, arguably the world’s most competitive racing jurisdiction. The winner of a growing list of Group 1 races at home and abroad, he now turns his attention to the Dubai World Cup meeting with a couple of lively outsiders in Gun Pit (AUS) and Domineer (GB).

“I feel both horses will pick up cheques for their owners,” he predicted.

Gun Pit will contest the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates on the back of a very encouraging second on Super Saturday in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3.

“I’d like to think he has come on nicely since his first run here and I have been happy with his work here. He is looking really well, he’s in a good place and very comfortable,” Fownes said of the son of Dubawi, who will again be partnered by Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira.

“Of course, I respect the fact there are so many good horses in the race but I feel he is a live chance to finish in the first four or five. On the dirt he is pretty special - he is unbeaten seven from seven on the surface at Sha Tin - and at some point down the road we might take him to America, where the dirt is quite similar to that in Hong Kong.

“He failed in Japan in December because the dirt there was very heavy. But his first run here in Dubai was really good and hopefully we have left room to improve on it.”

Domineer, meanwhile, contests the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News. It should also be instructive that Fownes rates the Shamardal gelding’s form on the dirt “on a par” with Lucky Nine and Green Birdie who ran third and fourth respectively in previous editions of this 1200m Group 1.

Hong Kong horses ran second and third in this race last year and in 2014 they finished first and second. For a jurisdiction that schedules no Group races on dirt, this is quite a record.

“Domineer is in the top three dirt horses in Hong Kong over sprints and he comes here off a good win on the grass in his last start. His barrier trial last week at home was good also and I’d say he has a first-four chance for sure,” Fownes continued.

“He is an on-speed horse at home but he can be versatile tactically also. I don’t think racing left-handed will be a problem, as opposed to the way they race at home. I think the four horses from Hong Kong in the race will do well in this race. There isn’t much between them.”

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