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Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline Notes, Monday, March 26, 2018

Awardee – With 10 wins from 40 starts, the 8-year-old veteran Awardee had an easy canter on the Meydan dirt track around 5:00 a.m.

“My staff told me that he has settled in well and eats up like he does at home,” trainer Mikio Matsunaga said. “Jockey Yutaka Take will gallop him on Wednesday morning.”

Forever Unbridled – Charles Fipke’s champion Forever Unbridled, looking to become the first female winner of the race, went to the track shortly after 5:30 a.m. and galloped twice around as trainer Dallas Stewart and his son, Cole, watched from the rail.

“We know she’s gifted,” Stewart said of the decision to run the 6-year-old mare in the Dubai World Cup. “She knows how to win. We got the invitation, so we decided to take a shot. Mr Fipke is pretty game for trying new things, so here we are.”

Forever Unbridled has been working steadily since the start of February for her trip to Dubai, including a bullet work of 59.60 for 1000m on March 15 at her home base at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

“She’s never missed a day of training,” Stewart said. “She’s been training great. Her works have been great.”

Forever Unbridled, who shipped to Dubai on March 20, has pleased her trainer with her appearance and energy level.

“She’s doing very well,” the former assistant to D. Wayne Lukas said. “We have video of her bucking and kicking. We’re happy to see that. Her energy is good. She knows her job. We just need to get her over there.”

Furia Cruzada – Dubai-based trainer Erwan Charpy has his hands full managing Furia Cruzada, a mare who can lose her concentration if there are too many distractions.

The well-travelled 6-year-old ran across South America before stints in France and Britain but has performed well in three starts for Charpy this year, the best of which was a narrow second in the Balanchine Sponsored by AZIZI Developments (G2).

“She worked on Saturday and Sunday is our day off,” Charpy said. “I’m not sure if we will bring her back to the track this week. She just went for a light canter on the other side of the track today and we may do the same tomorrow.

“I’m happy with her. We have to play with her a bit - she’s so keen and you don’t want too much buzz - but so far she’s been OK.”

Gunnevera – American challenger Gunnevera, an earner of over US $2.9 million and third in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes in January, rolled through an easy gallop around the Meydan dirt track just after 7:00 a.m. on Monday morning.

With trainer Antonio Sano due to arrive in Dubai on Monday night, assistant trainer Jesus Prada stood at the rail watching Gunnevera cruise, a smile spreading across his face.

“The horse is doing very well. He feels very nice and he likes the track, the barn and all the attention from the people here,” Prada said, glancing around the huge span of Meydan. “This is a major place—very different from Gulfstream Park (in Florida where Gunnevera has been based). We came here to win the Dubai World Cup and he has a real chance to win.”

North America – Winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (G1) by more than five lengths in a course record time earlier this month, North America completed his serious work for the Dubai World Cup at trainer Satish Seemar’s private Zabeel Stables and delighted his handler.

“He worked 800m for Richard Mullen,” Seemar said. “On the clock he did exactly the same as in his final preparation for the last round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.”

Seemar has trained in Dubai for 27 years and goes into Saturday’s meeting with a record of one winner – No Contract in the 1994 Dubai Golden Shaheen – from 48 runners. However, he believes that his five-strong squad on the night makes up the strongest team he has ever sent out.

North America is the team leader. “I’ve never had doubts about his ability, but I did have doubts about distance,” Seemar added. “Last year I stuck to my thinking about keeping him to 1600m, but he seems to love 2000m now.”

Pavel – Although lightly raced, the 4-year-old Pavel arrives with impressive credentials.

Pavel, named after hockey star Pavel Datsyuk, took some time to find his legs before skating to a runaway score in his July 1, 2017 debut, at Santa Anita. Just two starts later he iced his competition with a six-length romp in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx.

“He had some early issues, so we put him away and stopped on the (Kentucky) Derby dreams with him and I believe we now have a better 4-year-old,” Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, said.

Owned by Reddam Racing LLC, Pavel was out just after 7:00 a.m. for an open gallop over the Meydan dirt track under exercise rider Amir Cedeno.

“He’s a good traveller, so he’s the perfect horse to move around with,” Mora said. “He loves what he does and he’s adapted pretty well. So, now we pray that he’ll do well on the evening.”

Pavel will continue the easy workload through the week.

“He did his big works at home. He’ll just gallop into the race,” Mora said. “The more he trains here, the more I like it. He wasn’t making any noise and there was no stress. He has a tendency to get wet. He’s a sweater, but it’s not a nervous thing. That’s just him.”

Despite having just seven starts to his credit, the handsome Creative Cause grey has made three attempts in Grade 1 races including an impressive third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Mora knows the young colt will have a tough task in the Dubai World Cup but believes the colt is sitting on a big effort following a difficult trip last out when fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual, at Santa Anita.

“He’s facing some tough runners, but he’s training well and a good trip will help him,” Mora said. “The last race he ran, he lacked room, but the ability is there.”

Talismanic – The André Fabre trained French raider Talismanic came out to the Meydan dirt track just past 5:00 a.m. with exercise rider Claude Scialacqua aboard. He was accompanied by his stable companion Cloth of Stars, ridden by exercise rider Amelie Foulon, who is going to line up at the start of the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic. Travelling head lad Joel Pouchin was on hand to watch the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic work with Cloth of Stars over 1400m. Talismanic led down the back stretch and was then joined by Cloth of Stars for the final straight.

“Both horses worked well,” Pouchin said. “We are very pleased with them.”

Thunder Snow – Godolphin’s homebred 4-year-old son of Helmet did his last serious piece of work on Sunday morning, galloping over 1400m and pleasing his trainer, Saeed bin Suroor.

“He worked very well yesterday and we were delighted with him,” Bin Suroor said. “He has proven himself on the dirt by winning the UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby last year, as well as the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 this year.

“He ran very well on Super Saturday and is a dual Group One winner in Europe. Obviously it is a very strong race but we are hoping for a big run.”

The trainer also confirmed that Christophe Soumillon, aboard for the five big race victories mentioned but suspended on Super Saturday, will resume the partnership.

West Coast and Mubtaahij - Bob Baffert’s pair were out on the dirt track under exercise rider Dana Barnes this morning and the trainer was all smiles after seeing his charges for the first time since they boarded the plane for the long flight overseas.

“West Coast is a big, tough, horse and he shipped well and is carrying his weight well,” Baffert said. “I gave him a little easy half-mile (800m) and he looked great doing it. He`s happy and doing great and that`s all you can ask for at this stage.”

Baffert is looking for back-to-back victories in the race and his fourth overall win, having scored with Arrogate last year, Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001. Gary and Mary West`s West Coast is the reigning American champion 3-year-old colt.

“He needs to show up and run his race,” Baffert said. “He should be the favourite based on what he’s accomplished. He’s run into some pretty nice horses and Gun Runner (second to Arrogate in 2017) is not in there and there’s no Arrogate. I’ve been very fortunate. Every time I’ve gone over with the favourite I’ve been lucky to win it. Hopefully, that trend continues, but you still need racing luck.”

Mubtaahij is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Kalifa Saaed Al Maktoum and finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup last year. He was second in the 2016 edition of the race behind California Chrome.

“That`s all we wanted to do today,” said Baffert. “We`re going to go easy from here. They won`t come out on the track tomorrow. They`ll just walk and then jog and gallop up to the race on Saturday. We’re looking forward to it, but this race is a real challenge for a trainer, for me. It’s totally different (from racing in America). You have to really know your horse and understand how they’re responding. It’s not easy, but to win the big prize is really exciting and I feel good about both horses.”