Kasbah Bliss Still Has It in Him

Kasbah Bliss might have the dubious honour of being the oldest thoroughbred lining up on Dubai World Cup night, but his trainer François Doumen believes that he is as good as ever.
Declared to run in the Group 3 Dubai Gold Cup, sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, the horse that at the beginning of his career contested Grade 1 races at France’s premier racecourse Auteuil and was only beaten a length in Cheltenham’s famous Grade 1 World Hurdle in 2008, has literally come a long way since then.
Possessing not only stamina but also speed, it was the right decision to take him away from jump racing to concentrate on the cup races on the flat.
However, even though Kasbah Bliss was hardly ever out of the money, he had to wait until last year’s edition of the Prix Cadran to finally lift his first well deserved Group 1 race.
For many years, Doumen was equally at home on the jump racecourses as well as on the flat racecourses. From his yard in Lamorlaye, France, he sent out horses all over the world and it is no surprise that he was already very successful in Dubai in 2001 when Jim And Tonic won him the then Group 2 Dubai Duty Free. Eleven years down the line, he is now hoping that Kasbah Bliss can do it again for him.
“We don’t really talk about his age,” he smiled. “He doesn’t know how old he is, so why remind
Kasbah Bliss has been in Dubai for nearly two months and did some work on Monday morning.
“I think the advantage he has got is that he has been here for a month and half now, even a bit more,” the trainer continued.
“He has a complete summer coat and has had his prep race, which was absolutely necessary as his last race before that was his win at Longchamp in the Prix Cadran. On Monday, I had to give him quite a serious work as he needed it. He had a good blow and he is very well. He is very happy with himself.”
Kasbah Bliss, always recognisable in the morning by the Doumen trademark orange bandages that all his horses wear during training, did look in very good health. Watching him doing a small canter round the track on Tuesday morning, Doumen was amazed how supple he continues to be year after year.
“He is a very expressive horse,” he added. “He shows his happiness and is jumpy. It is very easy to see if the horse isn’t going well. He is always the same. It is amazing that he won his first Group 1 at the age of nine. It proves he doesn’t go down in his rating and is just the same. At the moment he couldn’t be better.”
While everything seems perfect, his trainer was nevertheless disappointed by the draw that dealt him the outside barrier.
“Ah,” he concludes. “I could complain, and I always like to complain. I thought there
were nine runners yesterday morning, but now there are 13 and naturally I have drawn 13. Gerald Mosse will have to deal with that.”
The draw might not be in his favour, but Kasbah Bliss could well surprise in this race that
with a little bit of pace, should be right up his street. Age in any case, won’t be an excuse.