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Track Notes - March 21, 2011

Group One US$10 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline

Bold Silvano - Bold Silvano, sadly misses the Dubai World Cup and a disappointed Mike de Kock said: "He worked well yesterday but seems to have tweaked or pulled something. We cannot actually put our finger on it immediately but it is enough to rule him out.

"It is a great shame as he is a genuine [Dubai] World Cup horse. It has not been easy with him this season but we will be back next year. At least we have back up in the shape of Golden Sword who will take his place."

Buena Vista - Japanese super mare Buena Vista was just walking around the stable area on Monday morning. Keiji Yamaguchi, the traveling head lad commented, “She was working on the All-Weather last year as well, and she could cope with the surface. There is no hitch about the track. She has been settled well since she arrived. She has a good appetite and is in good condition. She will put in a slow work for two laps tomorrow morning.”

Cape Blanco – The Aidan O`Brien-trained runner is expected to arrive in Dubai in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The earliest the horse can make an appearance on the track will be Thursday morning.

Fly Down – Fly Down galloped 2000m (about 1 ¼-mile) Monday morning at Meydan under exercise rider Tiffany Green, who accompanied the 4-year-old colt on his trip from the United States.

“The last two days he`s galloped a [2000m], which is a little bit less than normal but enough to keep him sharp,” said Green, who is supervising Fly Down`s preparations until assistant trainer Tim Poole arrives later today.

The Dubai World Cup will be the first start over a synthetic surface for the son of Mineshaft.

“He`s never run on anything but the dirt,” Green said. “He seems to love (the All-Weather surface at Meydan). He seems to be skipping over it, but you never know until they run on it.”

Fly Down has acclimated to his surroundings well and proved to be an easy shipper.

“He shipped perfectly,” she said. “They said he was perfect on the plane. He ate up everything. He was the first one off the first fan and he strutted off there liked he owned the place. The first day out of quarantine I wanted to take him to the track and jog him a turn but he was too full of himself, so I jogged a half-turn and turn around and gallop a bit.

“He`ll keep galloping and then he`ll gate school Thursday or Friday, and wait for race day.”

Gio Ponti - American champion Gio Ponti will race for the second consecutive time in the US$10 million Dubai World Cup and try to improve on his close fourth-place effort of 2010, although there is a large question mark hovering over him.

“It’s a bit ambitious,” acknowledged assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul of Gio Ponti’s impending start, which will come without the benefit of a prep race. The six-year-old son of Tale of the Cat has not raced since finishing second to Goldikova in the Group One Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 6.

“He does run well fresh,” Lorieul said, but conceded the 2000m (about 1 ¼-mile) distance of the Dubai World Cup is a challenge for an initial seasonal effort. “Hopefully his class will prevail.”

The winner of six Group One races in the United States and US$5,037,800, Gio Ponti galloped strongly at Meydan on Monday while covering 2,000 meters and later visited the starting gate. Gio Ponti stood in the gate, backed out and re-entered again, handling the assignment with good manners but dripping sweat from his neck and under his saddle towel.

Lorieul said Gio Ponti typically gets a bit edgy when schooling at the gate and will probably return for another session on Thursday, when trainer Christophe Clement will be present to supervise.

Overall, Lorieul reported that Gio Ponti handled the long journey to Dubai from the U.S. better than he did last year and has adapted more quickly, eating well and moving fluidly over Meydan’s all-weather track.

Golden Sword - Golden Sword will take the place of Bold Silvano in the Dubai World Cup for Mike de Kock who said, “It is no secret that we wanted to run Golden Sword in the Dubai World Cup as has been a revelation on the All-Weather. He is working very well and certainly seems to be back to something like his best. His form in Europe suggests he will handle conditions.”

Musir - Mike de Kock was in bullish form as we enter the final week of the UAE racing season and, of course more importantly, Dubai World Cup week. And rightly so as it appears he has a lot to look forward to on Saturday evening after yet another highly successful Dubai International Racing Carnival.

He may yet to have won the Dubai World Cup but he has had a few near misses and, in Bold Silvano, he clearly hopes he has a real contender for this year`s race. Winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round II, the horse was sadly ruled out of the concluding leg with a foot problem but the trainer is not unduly concerned: "It was not ideal obviously as we had a set plan to which we wanted to stick – the final two legs of the Al Maktoum Challenge and the [Dubai] World Cup. But that is racing and we have had to modify the plan. He bruised his foot, nothing major but enough to keep him off the track for a few days but he is fine now and working great. So far, Plan B is going well with him but Saturday will be the proof."

Musir stepped into Bold Silvano`s shoes on Super Thursday and beat all bar Dubai World Cup favourite Twice Over in the third and final round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Last year`s UAE Derby winner was meant to have run over 1600m but coped with the step up to 2000m and De Kock added: "You have to think he stayed as he was only beaten by one horse. Hopefully he has come on from that run and he is a great second string to our [Dubai] World Cup bow."

Richard`s Kid - Richard`s Kid was seventh in the Dubai World Cup last year and is now in the care of Satish Seemar. He was a well beaten tenth in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III but Seemar explained: "He was always going to need that run and if he has improved a lot from it. He is going well in his work and it is great to have a runner with a chance in the world`s richest horse race."

Transcend - Transcend, the Japan Cup Dirt winner, was walking around the stable area. Hisami Yamashita, the work rider said, “He did not have any problem with his gait. He has a very good appetite, and I think he feels sound.”

Twice Over - Henry Cecil is expected on track later in the week and his Dubai World Cup hopeful Twice Over had a steady canter over half a mile on the main track under his regular jockey Tom Queally. The six-year-old looked on good terms with himself in this very easy piece of work.

Victoire Pisa - Victoire Pisa, the 2010 Grand Prix Arima Kinen winner, cantered easily on Monday. According to his workrider Kiyofumi Takigawa, “The travel from Japan was very smooth. He is eating up very well and is in a good form.”

Group One US$5 million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free

Bankable – Herman Brown, trainer: “We have kept him over shorter distances this carnival to keep him fresh for this race and I was pretty happy with how he won his prep over 1200m on Super Thursday. He is at his optimum racing weight now and I am pretty happy he is primed to run his usual honest race. He will need in luck in running as he is a hold-up horse but that’s how it is for a few of his rivals like Presvis and Wigmore Hall.”

Derbaas - Champion UAE Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe looks virtually guaranteed to retain his crown but would love to clinch it in style as he did last year on Dubai World Cup night.

In 2010, it was the victory of his Al Shemali in the this race which clinched the title and this year he has Derbaas. Vastly improved this season, the five year oold has won his last four starts at Meydan, all over 1600m with two victories on the All-Weather and most recently, at the Dubai International Racing Carnival, a pair on turf.

He steps up to Group One company now and has an extra 200m to cover but connections are very hopeful. Assistant trainer Jilani Sidiqqui said: “The horse has been a revelation this season and is hopefully still improving. Richard (Hills) has given him two great rides to win at the Carnival and we are not worried about the step up in trip. Obviously it is a big step up in class but he deserves to take his chance and did win the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort in great style.

“We missed Super Thursday so he is nice and fresh and we are really looking forward to running him.”

Presvis - Presvis covered 1400m on the Turf course under big-race jockey Ryan Moore ahead of his bid to land the Dubai Duty Free, a race in which he was 11th last year after a luckless run through the field.

Trainer Luca Cumani was on hand to watch the gallop, and said: “That was Presvis’ final workout ahead of Saturday’s race and I was perfectly happy with the way things went.”

River Jetez and Raihana – Trainer Mike de Kock has enjoyed a lot of success with fillies on Dubai World Cup night with Sun Classique winning the Dubai Sheema Classic and the amazing Ipi Tombe the Dubai Duty Free. This year he will try and win the latter, over 1800m on turf, with two fillies and both River Jetez and Raihana hold leading chances.

Runner-up in last year`s UAE Derby (to stable companion Musir), Raihana has been in good form this year and her three outings are highlighted by a course and distance victory on her penultimate start.

River Jetez is also a course and distance winner, having beaten stablemate Reem in the Balanchine Stakes and de Kock said, “Both are in great shape and like the younger fillies (Mahbooba and Reem) have really thrived in the Dubai sun. We could not be happier with either of them and are looking forward to the race. Whatever beats them will need to be a good horse on top of their game.”

Royal Bench - The Robert Collet-trained runner is expected to arrive in Dubai in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The earliest the horse can make an appearance on the track will be Thursday morning.

Tazeez – Tadhg O’Shea, jockey: “He will be a great ride to have. The last time I rode him I was third on him in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last year at Royal Ascot and Mr Gosden is bringing him here fresh from hope in the hope he can do what he did by winning the Sheema Classic last year with Dar Re Mi.”

Victor’s Cry - American Group One winner Victor’s Cry, a son of 2002 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, tuned up for the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free with a 1000m breeze over the Meydan turf on Monday that delighted trainer Eoin Harty.

“He looked good to me,” Harty said. “I let him stretch his legs and he went very easily.”

Irish jockey Tadhg O’Shea, who has been very successful riding in Dubai, was aboard Victor’s Cry for the workout, which was completed in time of 1:12 with markers 24 meters out on the track, meaning that all horses working on the grass had to travel very wide. O’Shea told Harty that he thought Victor’s Cry “went super,” the trainer said.

Jim Cornes, the Dubai Racing Club clocker, reported that Victor’s Cry increased his speed with each [couple hundred metres], finishing strongly.

Victor’s Cry will have a day off on Tuesday and just walk in the quarantine barn area. For the rest of the week, Harty plans only light gallops.

Harty, who saddled 2009 Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed and who trained 2001 American champion juvenile filly Tempera for Godolphin, said he believes Victor’s Cry, who typically rallies from off the pace, has a good chance in the Dubai Duty Free.

“His style of running is conducive to the way they run here,” Harty noted. “He can sprint to the wire with the best of them.”

California-based jockey Victor Espinoza, who rode Victor’s Cry to a win in the Group Two Citation Handicap in November, will be back in the saddle for the Dubai Duty Free.

Group Two US$2 million UAE Derby, sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group

Reem, Mahbooba and Zanzamar - South African trainer Mike de Kock has a formidable record in the UAE Derby having saddled the winner of five of the eight most recent renewals and twice registering a 1-2 finish in the race.

He will be well represented this year with UAE 1000 Guineas first and second, Mahbooba and Reem joined by UAE 2000 Guineas runner-up Zanzabar.

The trainer said: “From what we have seen here (the UAE) I really do believe that the fillies are better than the colts. Obviously Khawlah (Godolphin) is a very nice filly but Mahbooba can hopefully reverse their form.

“It is the new colts who are hard to gauge.” he continued. “Their form looks good but it is not always easy to adapt straight away and they have not had a run. We have to be hopeful.”

Sweet Ducky - Multiple American stakes winner Sweet Ducky, purchased recently by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, could use the $2-million UAE Derby as a possible prep for the Group One Kentucky Derby five weeks later depending how he handles his assignment here Saturday.

The son of Pulpit is handling the new environment and All-Weather surface at Meydan well but still is “babyish and immature,” according to new trainer Herman Brown, who would like to rest the colt after the UAE Derby and let him grow.

However, Brown said Monday that if Sweet Ducky runs well in the UAE Derby, the lure of the Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs might be difficult to resist. Since the UAE Derby purse is so large, Sweet Ducky theoretically could earn enough with a good performance to make the Kentucky Derby field by graded/group stakes earnings.

“Obviously, it would be a temptation,” Brown said of the Kentucky Derby. “I don’t know that it would be the right thing to do, but it will be up to the owner to decide.”

So far, Sweet Ducky “seems to have traveled well and he’s eating and drinking well,” Brown said after watching the colt gallop under English-based jockey Tom Queally, who has been named to ride in the UAE Derby. “He’s tall and leggy, and with maturity he could be a really good horse.”

Brown plans to send Sweet Ducky out on Tuesday for “an 800m (about four furlongs) burst” of speed just to sharpen him for the race.

“We’re just learning as we go along with him as he just arrived here last week. We’ll see more tomorrow,” Brown said. “I basically just want to help the horse keep doing well and take our chances that way rather than stressing him.”

Brown said that he will consider it a good performance if Sweet Ducky can finish fourth or better in the UAE Derby.

Master of Hounds, Alexander Pope - The Aidan O`Brien-trained runners are expected to arrive in Dubai in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The earliest the horses can make an appearance on the track will be Thursday morning.

Group Two US$1 million Godolphin Mile, sponsored by Etisalat

Crowded House – Allanah Holloway, who has been getting on Crowded House since he`s been in Dubai, is pleased with how the son of Rainbow Quest is coming up to his engagement in Saturday`s Godolphin Mile.

“He`s been training really well,” she said of the five year old horse who has been in Dubai for the entire 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival. “He`s in good form. He couldn`t be much better right now. He worked five-eighths on Saturday.”

Trainer Ben Cecil arrives today from California to oversee the balance of Crowded House`s preparations for the Mile but Holloway indicated that the plan is to take him to the training track about 7:30am Tuesday.

“He`ll have visors back on for Saturday,” Holloway said. “We took them off last time.”

Imbongi - The large team of Mike de Kock-trained horses Saturday includes Imbongi whose run in the Godolphin Mile will probably be the horse`s last. The trainer added, “He is in good shape and ran well in [the first round of the] Al Maktoum Challenge. However, Skysurfers will be very hard to beat if in the same form as when he beat Musir.”

Make Music for Me - Monday morning at Meydan Racecourse Godolphin Mile hopeful Make Music for Me visited the starting gate and cantered 2400m for American based trainer Alexis Barba. Regular exercise rider Andy Durnin was aboard. Barba expects to breeze her colt 800m Tuesday morning at 6:15.

According to Barba the Bernstein colt shipped well to Dubai and was extremely relaxed during his journey from the US, defying his typical demeanor.

“He’s not mellow, he’s a little bit of a wild man”, she said. “He’s very happy here”, she went on, pointing out that he has a daily roll in the sand in the round pen made available to the quarantine horses.

Make Music for Me will be making his first start on a synthetic surface in the Godolphin Mile since April 2010 at Keeneland Racecourse. He has started twice on the main track Santa Anita Park in California this year, but the synthetic surface at Santa Anita was replaced by dirt prior to the start of the current meeting on December 26.

Nevertheless, Make Music for Me trains on the Cushion Track of Hollywood Park.

“He hasn’t been off of it,” the trainer said. “He’s never left Hollywood Park for training. But he’s showed up on most racetracks.”

Make Music for Me has raced on synthetic, turf, and dirt, and finished fourth in the 2010 Kentucky Derby when the track was listed as sloppy.

Mufarrh - Mufarrh completes the trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe`s Saturday Thoroughbred starters and takes his chance in the Godolphin Mile. He has won at the 2011 Carnival, over 2000m and was seventh behind Twice Over in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III. Al Shemali was sixth in that race last year before his big night triumph, maybe lightning can strike twice.

Group Two US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored By Emirates NBD

Happy Dubai - Another highly progressive sort is Happy Dubai who will take his chance in the Group Two Al Quoz Sprint over 1000m on turf, a course and distance the four year old has already triumphed over on two occasions. He has won three of his four 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival starts, including on Super Thursday in the Al Quoz Sprint prep.

Assistant trainer Jilani Sidiqqui said, “This horse has been brilliant this year and is lightly-raced on turf since arriving in the UAE. He actually won on his local debut on the Jebel Ali dirt but does seem to truly relish the fast turf and straight course at Meydan. Again, this is a big step up but, again, we have to be hopeful.”

Better Be One One – Mick Lockett, who traveled with Better Be One One, said Monday morning, “The horse arrived on Saturday afternoon and has settled in well. He only lost 10kgs on the flight. He had a bit of a trot around this morning to stretch his legs. We are very happy with him.

Trainer Michael Freedman arrives from Singapore this afternoon.

Mar Andentro - The Richard Chotard trained Mar Andentro both stretched his legs for the first time on the Meydan track after having arrived from France Saturday morning. Julien Guyot, travelling head lad for trainer Richard Chotard, confirmed: “Mar Adentro just cantered over seven furlongs and then over a little bit more than a mile. He is fine.”

Spin Cycle - Satish Seemar`s Spin Cycle was impressive winning the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint over the same 1000m minimum trip as the Al Quoz Sprint. That was the horse`s first dirt outing but his turf form in the UK was very decent and Seemar said: "Obviously we were very pleased with that win as he had disappointed us a bit at Meydan on his local debut. It looks a very competitive race but he is going nicely at home."

JJ The Jet Plane - JJ The Jet Plane is a proven Group One performer and looks the one they all have to beat. He won this race (before it was added to the Dubai World Cup card) in 2009 for Mike de Kock and current handler `Lucky` Houdalakis reports: "We were delighted with his win last time and he is flying on the gallops. The race cannot come soon enough!"

War Artist – Paul Harley, racing manager of owner Rupert Plersch, said, “War Artist has been here for some time and has done all his work. He`s just ticking over nicely now.”

Invincible Ash – Jockey Tadhg O’Shea said: “I am not riding her on Saturday but I was just helping out her trainer Michael Halford by partnering her in work. She felt very well in that spin this morning and her form at the Carnival is pretty good down the straight [1000m] having finished second and third. No reason why she can’t be in the money again with how she felt there for me.”