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Smart Dressed For Classic Success

American raider Valiant Boy on the Meydan training track.
Photo: Dubai Racing Club // Mathea Kelley

The traditional curtain raiser on Saturday’s card, the Group 1 Kahayla Classic, empowered by IPIC, has enjoyed a healthy rise in purse and looks another fascinating renewal.
Last year’s runner-up in the Purebred Arabian equivalent of the Dubai World Cup itself, Djainka Des Forges (FR) is bidding to go one place better for Qatar-based trainer Julian Smart, who has twice saddled the winner of the race.
Richard Mullen rides the mare in a race now worth $1m, having been denied only close home 12 months ago by Rabbah De Carrere (not been seen this season) and drawn 14 of the 15 runners.
Smart also has Taraf (QA), the mount of Harry Bentley in the field and sounds hopeful of two big runs.
“Djainka was drawn wide last year when an excellent second in this and then won us a big race in France in October,” said Smart, who was shuttling back from his home in Doha to continue preparations with other horses.
“My initial reaction when I saw the draw was disappointment, but on reflection it is not a disaster because we can keep out of the kickback if need be. She has worked well on the surface and has eaten everything we have offered her.
“Taraf is not eating as well as I would like but should handle the dirt judged by her pedigree. Her work has been fine and she is very useful in her own right.”
Also double handed is Erwan Charpy, with a pair of runners owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, headed by Versac PY (FR), winner of Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3,sponsored by Emirates SkyCargo, over the same course and distance, on Super Saturday.
The choice of the owner’s first jockey, Paul Hanagan, Charpy’s charge was fourth in this in 2012 and runner-up in 2013, before disappointing 12 months ago when only seventh (although only beaten just over two lengths).
The Frenchman also saddles Manark (FR), a wide margin winner over 1400m on his sole dirt outing, at Meydan, in February.
“Versac PY deserved his win on Super Saturday after countless good efforts in defeat,” said Charpy. “He is proven over course and distance, whereas Manark is trying a new trip.
“If he relaxes in the race I think he is also a big runner and he will wear a hood, in which he has been working nicely, to hopefully help him settle.”
Of the others, American challenger, Valiant Boy (FR), looks a big danger.
Unbeaten in his last eight starts, dating back to November 2012, he has a formidable record on dirt and looks a serious player.