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Noseda Waiting For Luck To Change

Godolphin Mile contender Sloane Avenue must overcome a wide draw on Saturday
Photo: Dubai Racing Club // Andrew Watkins

If Susan and Paul Roy, owners of Sloane Avenue (USA), ever need to rename the colt, they might seriously consider calling him Misfortune.

Although the four-year-old has won three of his five races – all on all-weather surfaces in England last year – ill luck has dogged his short career and is even following him to Dubai, where he has been allotted gate 15 of 16 in the Godolphin Mile sponsored by Meydan Sobha.

“Everything has been good, bar the draw, which has not been kind to us at all,” trainer Jeremy Noseda said, after watching Sloane River work on the Meydan turf track under regular work rider and travelling groom David Bradley.

“We want them to go really fast, so that Frankie (Dettori) can ride a patient race and negate the draw. Then we need to pray for a miracle.”

Noseda, who believes Sloane Avenue could be the stable’s Group 1 flag-bearer this year, has faced similar unfortunate situations with him before, including on his second intended outing, when he burst out of the stalls at Lingfield and had to be withdrawn, and on his third, when he finished last at a time when the stable was under a cloud.

“Then, after he’d won at Kempton, we went to New York and on the day before the race, they had three-quarters of an inch of rain and it totally ruined his chances, although I had to run him because we’d travelled all that way,” Noseda recounted.

“He went on to win a nice Listed race at Kempton in November, and we decided to go for the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Everything was going well until less than 24 hours before the race, when he stumbled and struck into his near-fore, so we had to take him out.”

“That was when Dubai was put on the agenda, and preparations for a first appearance on dirt, including a spin with Dettori a fortnight ago and a final work-out on Friday, were going according to plan - until the draw."

“I’ve been dying to get him on the dirt, because although he enjoys Polytrack, everything about his pedigree suggests he’ll be even better on dirt,” Noseda said.

“I really did think he had a big chance, and he may still have, if we get a lucky break. It would mean a huge amount to David Bradley and I to have a winner at this meeting, because we were part of the Godolphin team in the very early days of the 1990s, when we had great success with such as Balanchine, Lammtarra and Halling.”

Owner Paul Roy, who has suffered his own misfortune by having to pull out of the trip at the last minute because of illness, says that seeing Sloane Avenue get to the start will be an achievement in itself.

“He’s turning into a horse who enjoys travelling first class around the world and not doing much at the other end,” he said. “It’s time for him to get serious.”