Longines Dubai Sheema Classic & Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World Notes, Thursday, March 29, 2018

Photo: Lancaster Bomber (DRC and Neville Hopwood)

$6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)

Cloth of Stars – The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up Cloth of Stars looks ready for his next challenge as he stepped out onto the dirt track at Meydan racecourse at 5am on Thursday. He was accompanied by stable companion Trais Fluors, who is running in the Dubai Turf and both horses did a regular canter over 1600m.

Lisa-Jane Graffard, the Godolphin representative from France, was on hand to watch Cloth of Stars canter and said: “As yesterday, Cloth of Stars came out early and led Trais Fluors onto the track. They cantered and Cloth of Stars is typically keen but he seems very well in himself.”

Desert Encounter – Trainer David Simcock is not bothered by an outside post for Desert Encounter.

“He’s a pick-up pieces horse, so he’s a hold up horse. I wasn’t actually worried where he was drawn,” Simcock said. “He’ll sit near the back and he usually produces a late run, so being drawn nine of 10 is not a problem.”

The 5-year-old Halling gelding, who cantered over the Meydan dirt course just after 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, will look to make a late run for rider Sean Levey. Simcock is keen on Desert Encounter’s ability to close with conviction.

“He’s got a turn of foot, a strong travelling horse. He travels into a race very well and I like a track like this where you get a chance to ride that sort of race. He’s a very straightforward horse which makes the whole process easier,” Simcock said.

Simcock doesn’t expect Desert Encounter to have any issue with a fast Meydan turf course.

“I think it will ride good on the evening. They tend to do a lot of watering through the week and then leave it Friday and Saturday and it generally rides very well,” Simcock said. “We won’t have the rain that we had last year, so it should be fine.”

Hawkbill – A European Group 1 winner over 2000m, he had a gentle spin around trainer Charlie Appleby’s private training facility at Marmoon on the dirt, having had a blow out on the grass on Wednesday morning.

A winner at this year’s Dubai Racing Carnival, the 5-year-old appeared on good terms with himself and is ready for his task on Saturday.

“He quickened up well down the straight to win here last time out and he has come out of the race well,” Appleby said. “Everything has gone well with him and I was happy with his work yesterday. Cloth Of Stars is obviously a good horse and a worthy opponent but hopefully Hawkbill will run his race and be there when it matters.”

Khalidi - The former John Gosden inmate is now with Clive Cox and the trainer is looking forward to stepping the 4-year-old back up to 2400m after his initial run for the yard when seventh in the 2000m Winter Derby (G3) at Lingfield.

“The horse has thrived since he has been out here and we just gave him a spin on the turf training track this morning,” Cox said. “We don’t need to do a lot more with him and I am looking forward to seeing how he gets on Saturday stepping back up in distance.

“I have brought a few horses out here over the years and we have had fourths and fifths so it would be great to get closer. A lot of the horses we have brought before have gone back home and done very well and hopefully he will too.”

Idaho – Trainer Aidan O’Brien was feeling good about Idaho Thursday morning after the watching him come out with all of his stablemates at 7 a.m.

“He has a nice draw in two and seems to have travelled well so we’re hopeful,” O’Brien said.

Poet’s Word – After going through the motions with the most leisurely exercise imaginable at Meydan on Wednesday, Poet’s Word was not even asked to venture as far as the main centre of public attention on Thursday, as he continued his low-key build up.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s travelling head groom Sarah Denniff reported: “After his quiet canter on the grass track on Wednesday, he just walked and trotted in the international stables area this morning.”

Poet’s Word, a 5-year-old son of Poet’s Voice, who died earlier this month, was bought for owner Saeed Suhail for 300,000gns at the Tattersalls yearling sales in Newmarket by agent Charlie Gordon-Watson and has the profile of a typical late-maturer for which his trainer is noted.

Progressing through handicaps as a 3-year-old, he stepped into Group company last year and after winning a Group 3 at Goodwood, he collected second places behind Decorated Knight in the Irish Champion Stakes and the ultra-smart Cracksman in the British equivalent at Ascot.

Rey de Oro – Galloped one lap around the dirt track, stretching his legs after a 1000m turf course fast work on Wednesday. Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa was on hand to watch his charge’s strong gallop.

“He is doing great, Fujisawa said. “He had a lot of energy after his fast work yesterday, so we took him out today to keep him limber. We’ll bring him out again tomorrow for the same thing I think, a strong gallop on the dirt.”

Yesterday, after his breeze jockey Christophe Lemaire referred to his work as “Perfect,” a good sign for one of Japan’s most promising runners on Saturday.

$6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1)

Benbatl – Cantered at Al Quoz on Thursday morning under the watchful gaze of his trainer Said Bin Suroor, who said: “He was inconvenienced by a wide draw on Super Saturday but has a good gate in five this time.

“As I have said, this is a horse we have always really liked and, hopefully, he is going to run a big race on Saturday.”

Championship – “He did his final piece of work three days ago and I’m very happy with him,” said trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash.

“He has only run twice this season, the first time the jockey didn’t know him, but the second time he ran very well in the Zabeel Mile. I have seen him improving race to race. He has just been cantering the rest of this week.”

Crocosmia, Deirdre, Real Steel, Vivlos – Japan’s Dubai Turf contenders all stayed back in the quarantine area this morning after their fast works yesterday. All will likely be out on the track tomorrow.

Janoobi – Trainer Michael de Kock is hoping that having a bit of a home court advantage will play in to Janoobi’s favor when he goes to post in the Dubai Turf Saturday night. He will be making his fifth straight start over the Meydan turf course.

“He’s the kind of horse that if he gets this his way, he could run into the money,” de Kock said. “He may not be as good as some of these, but one thing about him is, he’s honest. He could have a bit of an advantage in that he didn’t have to travel and he’s been around the block a few times. I’ve seen it before where horses with lesser ability, but have been training here, jump up and run out of their skin Carnival night.”

Janoobi, who is coming off a third in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta Sponsored By Emirates Airline at Meydan March 10, had his final work Tuesday on the training track and has been stayed primarily in de Kock’s yard since.

“He’s in good form and I couldn’t be happier with him,” De Kock said.

Lancaster Bomber – Trainer Aidan O’Brien was feeling good about the chances of Lancaster Bomber Thursday morning.

“The distance, nine furlongs, might be as far as he wants to go, but the fast ground will be ideal for him,” O’Brien said. “He is one of the highest-rated horses in the race and we think he will be competitive.”

Monarchs Glen – Worked on the Meydan grass track at 5am under Tony Proctor watched by Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Prince Khalid Abdullah.

Connections have been pleased with the four-year-old’s condition ahead of Saturday’s race.

“We gelded him over the winter and that has made a difference. He has been straightforward and had a good progression,” Grimthorpe said. “He looked wintry two weeks ago but he is great in his coat now.

“He’s travelled over well and we know he has to step up on Saturday. Looking at the ratings, he has a bit to find but not that much.

“He won a Group 3 at Newmarket in October and it was really around December time that we thought about coming here. You have to plan ahead for something like this otherwise you are not ready. We were originally going for the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic but decided to switch to the Dubai Turf and the Prince was happy to do that.”

Neorealism – Stretched his legs for 2000m in the trotting ring along with Longines Dubai Sheema Classic contender Satono Crown at the quarantine stable and came down to visit the starting gate area for schooling.

“They have settled in well.” trainer Noriyuki Hori said. He was asked about the draw and said, “I will talk to the jockey regarding the tactics later.” Hong Kong based Joao Moreia will be on board for both of the horses.