Pat Cosgrave Interview – Dubai World Cup Super Saturday

Pat Cosgrave has been a trusted lieutenant
of Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor for a few years now and the Irishman has
enjoyed a profitable 2020 Dubai Carnival. His two winners have both come in the
royal blue silks and Cosgrave has five chances to add to his tally at Meydan’s
Super Saturday.

Dubai Blue lines up in the Listed Al Bastikya. This 3yo filly improved nicely from her first dirt effort in the 1000 guineas trial to run out an impressive winner of the guineas itself on January 23rd. The UAE Oaks was next on the agenda. She looked to have strong claims but she bumped into a resurgent and dominant Down On Da Bayou. Being a daughter of Night of Thunder out of a Dylan Thomas mare, Dubai Love will have no problems with this 1900m trip. That cannot be said of many of her rivals.

Dubai Blue has already won in Listed company this season

impressed me in the guineas and then just bumped into a very smart filly. She
has done absolutely nothing wrong all carnival and she is my best ride of the
day. The 1900m trip is no problem at all and she will be better if she is able
to follow horses into the straight before making her challenge. Down On Da
Bayou was away and gone in the guineas and we were forced to make our own way
home. That didn’t really suit. Her chance is obvious.”

Leading Spirit is a 4yo sprinter that we haven’t yet seen the best of. He was a very impressive winner of a five-furlong handicap at Jebel Ali on his penultimate start but stall 14 will make life tough now up in grade in the G3 Mahaab Al Shimaal.

horse is up in class but is definitely unexposed. Stall 14 is a horrible draw
so that makes life very difficult. I always find that there isn’t a whole lot
between the top graded sprinters and the top sprint handicappers so he could
easily take a hand in a race like this. I will have to speak with connections
before making a plan on how to ride him from this draw.”

Major Partnership is consistent in that he has won races at the Dubai Carnival in 2019 and 2020. It is the races in between those wins where the problems lie. The grey son of Ifraaj steps down in trip and up in grade for this G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

horse has a bit of an engine. He is a funny horse in that things have to fall
right for him, but he is very talented. We are drawn high which is a big
positive in the turf sprint course. He does need to raise his game but If I can
get some cover on him and the go quick, this fella could come home very well.
Never write off a horse trained by Saeed Bin Suroor.”

Mark Of Approval lines up in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. This 6yo is well worth his place in what looks to be a sub-par renewal and his late running style could pay dividends if the principals go a fast pace in the first half of the race.

Mark Of Approval has won twice since leaving John Gosden for Dubai

is a 6yo but hasn’t got many miles on the clock. He has done nothing wrong all
season, he likes Meydan and stays very well. It was nice to get a win on him in
the Jebel Ali Stakes last time and he was impressive on the day. If they go
hard which they always tend to, we could be placed although Military Law is
without doubt the horse to beat.”

Mountain Hunter is a three time Meydan winner and has been holding his form well in some competitive handicaps in 2020. He has plenty on his plate in the G2 Dubai City Of Gold but on his best, he could give Defoe and Desert Encounter at least something to think about.

“Defoe will be very hard to beat and David Simcock’s horse will improve massively for his last run. Mountain Hunter was set a tough task on his latest start when trying to carry top weight from stall 16 of 16. That was a shocking draw. He was given a nice break to freshen him up since then and he looks great at home.”

Pat Cosgrave Interview – Dubai World Cup Super Saturday

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Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview – Super Saturday Tips

Last week’s blog nine yielded four winners
from four selections. Well Of Wisdom, Secret Advisor & Velorum all went in along
with US raider Parsimony. Charlie Appleby saddled the first trio and the
Godolphin supremo is in line for a big Super Saturday at Meydan. The majority
of the seven races have attracted full fields, but in truth, many of the
contenders have little of no hope of winning. The head of the market is where
we will concentrate for betting opportunities.

Race 1: Listed Al Bastikya (1 Mile, 1 Furlong) (Dirt)

Zabardast is one of the highest rated maidens in the
country on a mark of 95. He has quietly impressed in defeat on all of his three
starts to date. His last two efforts came on the dirt and he can be marked up
on those efforts as the draws have been very unkind. Stall 11 on Saturday is
not perfect by any means, but he should be able to lie-up closer to the early
pace and if there is a top class dirt performer to come out of this race, it is
most certainly Salem Bin Ghadayer’s strapping son of Carpe Diem.

Race 3: G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint (6 Furlongs) (Turf)

With the likes of Equilateral aside, the Meydan sprinters have been a motley crew in 2020. Enter Space Blues to put a bit of respectability on the division. Charlie Appleby needs a horse to step up and fill the shoes of Blue Point who was so brilliant in this race last year. This son of Dubawi rose rapidly through the handicap ranks to win at listed level before going close in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. His last two runs came in G1s; the best of which was over six and a half furlongs in Deauville’s Prix Maurice De Gheest. We saw last week how Appleby can ready his charges to be cherry ripe off a break and a repeat of either of his last two runs will be good enough to win this. Rusumaat could be one for the forecast.

Space Blues can follow up Blue Point’s success last year for the Godolphin team

Race 5: G1 Jebel Hatta (1 Mile, 1 Furlong) (Turf)

Barney Roy cruised home to win the G2 Al Rashidiya in effortless fashion on January 30th. He faces 12 rivals this time but serious rivals are thin on the ground. Dream Castle has been holding his form well, but that form is still well short of what is required, and he was swept aside by Barney Roy on their latest clash. Spotify should make this a nice end-to-end gallop and that will set things up for his uber-talented stable mate.

Barney Roy should take all the beating in the 1st Group One of the night

Race 6: G1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (1 Mile, 2 Furlongs) (Dirt)

has come a long way in a short space of time.
He was bordering on useful for John Gosden in England and was snapped up for
what now looks like a very cheap 110,000 guineas back on July. Mussabeh Al
Mheiri has done a fabulous job with him as the horse has been reported to not
show a lot in the mornings. The gelded son of Dubawi is pacey in his races and
is able to travel powerfully and quicken, which is something that not many dirt
performers can do. Antonio Fresu should be able to hold the perfect stalking
position form stall 2. Military Law is simply the most talented horse in a
sub-par race for the grade.

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Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview – Week 9 Tips

Last week’s blog yielded good profit with
Moqtarreb going down narrowly at good each-way odds and Epic Hero getting the
job done in no uncertain style in the concluding race. This week’s action will
be somewhat over shadowed by the inaugural Saudi Cup fixture that is taking
place in Riyadh on Saturday, and it could be a good weekend on both sides of
the Arabian Gulf for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby.

Race 2: Listed Meydan Classic (1 Mile) (Turf)

Well Of Wisdom ran his race back-to-front when tipped in this column a few weeks ago. He was much too fresh throughout the opening stages under William Buick, and had nothing left to give at when push came to shove. With the benefit of that run behind him, the Oasis Dream colt should be able to reproduce some of his smart European form from the summer of 2019. The Godolphin runner wasn’t beaten far by G1 winner and Newmarket guineas fancy Earthlight at Deauville in July. This race won’t take much winning and Well Of Wisdom could get the ball rolling on a good night for Charlie Appleby.

Well Of Wisdom will be hoping to give Godolphin a flying start today

Race 5: G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy (1 Mile, 6 Furlongs) (Turf)

Secret Advisor has always been a talented horse. He won the 2017 running of the Melrose Handicap at York’s Ebor Festival. He missed a year through injury and his two runs in 2019 are best forgotten. He has clearly thrived in the Dubai sun and looked back to his best when landing a listed handicap over this course and distance in January. The gelded son of Dubawi can only improve for that outing and he should take all the beating now reunited with stable jockey William Buick.

A big run is expected from the lightly raced but talented Secret Advisor

Race 6: District One Mansions Trophy Handicap (1m 2Furlongs) (Turf)

If Parsimony is as good as his trainer Doug O’Neill believes he is; he could easily have a stone in hand of his rivals. O’Neill has been effusive in his praise for this 4yo and believes that he could make up into a Dubai World Cup contender this year. His opening foray at the carnival was good. He was drilled to the lead from stall 1, and plugged on into 4th place, beaten just four lengths by a useful yardstick. The grey colt was harried for the lead on that occasion and probably went too fast. This race doesn’t look as though it is laden with early speed and Parsimony may be able to set easier fractions. He needs to win and win well to be considered for the World Cup on March 28th.

Race 8: Listed Curlin Handicap (6 Furlongs) (Dirt)

Charlie Appleby looks to hold strong claims
in the concluding race. On The Warpath looks to be the yard’s first string but Velorum is lurking towards the bottom
of the weights on a very workable mark. This 4yo son of the great Sea The Stars
has been gelded since disappointing in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Before that he was an impressive winner of two 1 mile handicaps; the form of
both have worked out nicely. There is plenty of reason to think that a mark of
96 may only represent the floor of his ability and dropping back to 7 furlongs
should suit as there is plenty of pace in the race. Mikael Barzalona is
arguably riding Meydan better than anyone at the moment.

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Donald McCain Blog – Sunday Runners

It’s been a quiet week runner wise but we have had two winners in the last two days which is great. I was in Cheltenham for the sales today where I purchased a nice horse from John Nallen who finished runner-up on both his starts in Irish point to points and we should have some fun with him. Looking forward to the weekend, thankfully we are racing on Sunday on the all-weather at Wolverhampton which will be a change of pace for many of my runners from the usual soft going around the likes of Bangor.

In total, I have five runners and you can read my thoughts on them all below:

Li’l Sebastian
Track: Wolverhampton – 2:00
Jockey: Lorcan Murtagh

He was second in an all-weather bumper at Newcastle and I don’t see why Wolverhampton should suit him any less, in fact, it might suit him better. It does look like a warmer race but he should run ok.

Carry On
Track: Wolverhampton – 2:30
Jockey: Harrison Beswick

I think to be fair to him, he was trained for the flat and wouldn’t go into the stalls, so he could run well.

Last Golden Ticket
Track: Wolverhampton – 2:30
Jockey: Brian Hughes

He didn’t cope with the ground at Sedgefield and I think on this surface he should show a lot better form so again I’d be hoping for a good run.

PRINCE KHURRAM Ridden by Lorcan Murtagh wins at Perth 15/7/18 Photograph by Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723

Prince Khurram
Track: Wolverhampton – 4:00
Jockey: Abbie McCain

I’ve never been able to run him on the flat because he had such a high rating when he came to us, so we have decided to give him a run-around and he’ll come on from the run.

Nefyn Bay
Track: Wolverhampton – 4:30
Jockey: Lorcan Murtagh

He’s an old horse that just needs to get some racing into him. I haven’t been able to run him anywhere because of the ground. Hopefully, when the ground does come right, this run will stand to him.

Best Chance: Li’l Sebastian

Donald McCain Blog – Sunday Runners

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Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview – Week 8 Tips

Ghaiyyath and Equilateral are the star attractions on Dubai Carnival week 8. Both horses have outstanding form claims and ought to get the job done at short odds. UAE 1000 Guineas heroine Dubai Blue takes on Japanese contender Serein in the Oaks, this is a clash to savor. Midnight Sands is another that will be popular with punters, he arrives with form figures of 1111. Doug Watson’s charge does everything right and he may not have to come outside his comfort zone to dispatch his seven rivals.

The high class Ghaiyyath is a short price to defy a 5lb penalty today

Race 2: Jaguar XE Handicap Div 1 (1 Mile)

This is a
tricky little contest on the face of it with many of the contenders having run against
one another last time out. Moqtarreb appeals from an each-way perspective and could be over priced based on
his finishing position (10th) in a course and distance handicap on
Jan 30th. This son of Kingman was a progressive sort for Roger
Varian in England before running a fine race on his UAE/yard debut earlier in
the carnival. His latest effort can be excused due to a wide draw and being
forced to race in rear off a moderate pace. Jim Crowley was easy on him once
his winning chance had gone and we are likely to see a much improved
performance now breaking from stall five.

Race 4: G2 Zabeel Mile (1 Mile)

Mythical Magic
won this race 12 months ago in fine style and he has solid claims of doing so
again. His re-appearance in the G3 Al Fahidi Fort was very encouraging. The 7
furlong trip was sharp enough but the son of Ifraaj stuck to his task nicely,
eventually passing the line in second place. The selection’s stablemate
Zakouski has star potential but he takes a big step up in class. William Buick
rode both horses on their latest starts and he has opted for Mythical Magic.

Race 7: Jaguar XE Handicap Div 2 (1 Mile)

second division of this handicap is by far the stronger but while it does have
plenty of depth, it’s hard to see Simon Crisford’s Epic Hero out of the frame. This gelded son
of Siyouni was a very unlucky loser when beaten a short head behind Suedois in
January. He then came with what looked like a winning run in a nine furlong
handicap a fortnight ago but stamina gave way late on. James Doyle has a
fabulous record when teaming up with Simon Crisford in 2020 and this 5yo looks
to have outstanding each-way claims.

Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview – Week 8 Tips

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Donald McCain Blog – Navajo Pass Plans, Thoughts on Minella Trump & The Con Man’s Chance At Ascot

I was very disappointed to see Minella Trump get demoted from 1st to 2nd last Friday at Bangor. If I had trained the second horse, would I in a million years thought I would have got the race…no? Honestly, I was gobsmacked that we lost the race, Brian could have given him another smack or two after the last and he would have won a length and a half but he didn’t need to so he didn’t. You must remember at Bangor you are galloping into a 90-degree bend after the line so Brian is going to give him a chance to get around the bend and pull up.

We were a bit undecided about appealing but having thought about it again we will appeal the decision because as I said the decision is baffling to me given the distance he won by and the fact that he was being eased down.

Regarding Navajo Pass, I said I wasn’t going to run him this weekend and then I got a piece of work into him during the week and he went really well so I flirted with the idea but at the end of the day I’ve got to make sure I get him to Cheltenham. He was entered in at Bangor on Tuesday next week but that has been abandoned so I would imagine now we’ll end up going straight there now. Instead we’ll get a gallop in somewhere beforehand, I’m not quite sure where at the moment. I would, of course, like to have gotten another race into him but he doesn’t really need it and my other previous festival winners have run in January and gone straight to the festival.

Trainer Donald McCain with NAVAJO PASS (ridden by assistant Adrien Lane) at his Bank House Stables nr Cholmondley 6/2/20
Photograph by Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723

I just have the one runner this weekend at Ascot and you can read my thoughts on his chance below:

The Con Man
Track: Ascot – 3:00
Jockey: Brian Hughes

I think he has to have a big chance with the drop in trip being no issue with the soft ground and stiff track. He’s in Carlisle on Monday and he could have gone there and won another race and be seven-pounds higher which would make it harder to win a nice pot like this so we said let’s take our chance now and he should go close.

THE CON MAN and Brian Hughes wins at Kelso 27/1/20
Photograph by Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723

Donald McCain Blog – Navajo Pass Plans, Thoughts on Minella Trump & The Con Man’s Chance At Ascot

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Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview – Week 7 Tips

Benbatl confirmed himself ass one of the world’s
best horses last week with his breathtaking win in Round Two of the  Al Maktoum Challenge. Art Du Val’s win and
Military Law big run in 2nd place  brought some tidy profit from last week’s
blog. Carnival week 7 is an extremely difficult betting prospect so small
stakes are advised.

3: G2 Balanchine (1m 1f, Turf)

The key form-line for this contest is the G2 Cape Verdi from January 16th. Magic Lily edged out Nisreen by the smallest of margins on that occasion and the Godolphin filly will improve for this longer distance, but she does have a 1.5kg penalty to shoulder. Nisreen is well placed to turn the tables, as her rider Pierre-Charles Boudot hit the front a bit sooner that he would necessarily have liked in the Cape Verdi. This daughter of Raven’s Pass will have no problem with the extra distance and is likely to be played late. Her impressive burst of acceleration could be too hot for her rivals to handle.

Magic Lily – May find it tougher today taking on Nisreen in the G2 Balanchine

5: Reach Handicap (5 Furlongs, Turf)

Caspian Prince will blaze a trail from stall four but he will again find it tough to see off Waady, who will inevitably get a nice tow into the race. Doug Watson’s 8yo finished one place in front of Caspian Price when the pair met on January 23rd. The winner on that occasion was the super impressive Equilateral; strong form. The in-form Waady is taken to beat the improving Roulston Scar who tries this distance for the first time. Spanish raider Blueberry is another to consider as he was inconvenienced by the draw on his latest start.

The inform WAADY could be the one they all have to catch in the 5 Furlong Reach Handicap

6: G3 Firebreak Stakes (1 Mile, Dirt)

Capezzano and Muntazah dispute favoritism here and both have some high class course and distance form to their names. These two animals have questions to answer in terms of fitness, with Capezzano seemingly using this as a prep for the Saudi Cup and Muntazah arriving off the back of a lacklustre comeback effort. Doug Watson’s other runner Quip is worth chancing, this talented US import was bordering on top class when trained by Rodolph Brisset. Stall ten would be a death knell for many, but this 5yo is extremely sharp out of the gates. Top local trainer Watson is likely to have him primed and ready to win on his carnival debut.

Muntazah will be looking for back to back wins in the G3 Firebreak Stakes

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Saturday Preview – Altior Aims For 3rd Game Spirit


All eyes will be on Altior as Nicky’s star chaser bids to regain the winning thread in the Game Spirit at Newbury. Native River and Might Bite go head to head again in the Denman Chase but it would appear that the front-running chestnut has the measure of Nicky’s charge. The Betfair hurdle is typically competitive with the featherweight Mack The Man subject of an ante-post gamble but I think the Irish-raider Ciel De Neige can put a luckless run over Christmas behind him. The Kingmaker is the main event at Warwick where Nube Negra should take all the beating.


Bet In-Play Handicap Hurdle

One For The Team won on debut but hasn’t added to his tally since going hurdling. A mark of 130 looks feasible with connections no doubt keeping on eye on the Pertemps Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Anytime Will Do ran very well behind the classy Phoneix Way at Huntingdon and although that was a very good run, it was a hard race and he may need more time.

Previous course winner Acey Milan has the assistance of the very capable three-pound claimer Rex Dingle and with his favoured Good to Soft underfoot conditions, he should go well.

Selection: One For The Team

Game Spirit Chase

Altior bids for a third straight victory in this contest and although he lost his unbeaten record at Ascot, he never looked like he was really travelling. The reports from Seven Barrows have been “bullish” of late and he should regain the winning thread.

The Paul Nicholls’ yard has been firing in the winners of late and he takes the bubble wrap off Dynamite Dollars who hasn’t run in over a year. Prior to his break, he won four of his five chase outings but may have to settle for second-best here.

I was surprised that Bun Doran won the Desert Orchid Chase when last seen as I’ve always thought of him as a spring horse. He’ll undoubtedly run well but lacks the quality to win.

Selection: Altior

Denman Chase
Native River

Native River renews rivalry with Might Bite who he seems to have the upper hand over on their recent meetings. Colin Tizzards former Gold Cup winner looks like he back to something near his best and can win this race for the third time.

Secret Investor was outclassed in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup when last seen and although he’s a nice type I can’t see him troubling the principals.

Selection: Native River

Betfair Hurdle

The horse for money in recent days has been Mack The Man who creeps in at the bottom of the weights for Evan Williams. He was a snug winner of a Listed contest at Sandown in December and there is much more to come from him.

Not So Sleepy had a very busy 2019 running eleven times throughout the year. He was a very easy winner of a Grade 3 contest at Ascot in December but the handicapper handed him a seventeen-pound penalty for that victory which will make life tough.

Harambe flew home to nab Gumball late on in the Greatwood back in November but we haven’t seen Alan King’s smart sort since and he may need the run.

The most unexposed horse in the field is the Irish-raider Ciel De Neige who finished third in the Fred Winter on his first start for current connections. Although he’s yet to win, he was very unlucky at Limerick over Christmas and could be very well handicapped.

Selection: Ciel De Neige – E/W


Kingmaker Novices’ Chase
Nube Negra (Centre)

Nube Negra has always shown a high level of form including when finishing third in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. He’s looked even better since going chasing and went down fighting in a Grade 1 at Sandown before Christmas. Dan Skelton’s six-year-old is already a course and distance winner this season and it’s hard to look past him.

Rouge Vif never runs a bad race and was Grade 1 placed last season. He ran well on his first run since a win-op and with the benefit of that run he can push the favourite all the way.

Nicky Henderson’s Precious Cargo is very lightly-raced and although he was a beaten favourite on his last start, there is more to come and he shouldn’t be underestimated.

Selection: Nube Negra

31 Sleeps To Cheltenham Mares’ Hurdle

The Grade 2 placed Indefatigale has run some solid races this season but has yet to get her head in front and although she should be competitive at this level it was disappointing that she was beaten last time out and I’ll look elsewhere.

We haven’t seen Cap Soleil in nearly a year but she possesses plenty of ability having previously finished runner-up behind Laurina in the Mares’ novice at the Cheltenham festival. I’d imagine this will be used as a stepping stone back to the festival.

Legends Gold has won four of her last five starts but this represents a big step up in class and I can’t see here featuring here. It can often be hard to get a handle on the French form but Ch’ti Diamond did beat Fusil Raffles in her native country and is an intriguing contender.

Selection: Ch’ti Diamond

Warwick castle Handicap Chase
Two Taffs

The lightly-raced Two Taffs finished third in the Kingmaker on this card two years ago. He was disappointing in the Ladbrokes Trophy but has been dropped three-pounds since and has leading claims.

I have a soft spot for Gala Ball who’s only two-pounds higher than his recent Wincanton victory. He’s only been out of the places once in nine starts and must go close.

Katpoli beat the smart Hawk High at Wetherby in January and four-pounds seems very fair. He’s on a real upward curve and must enter calculations.

Selection: Two Taffs

Main Bets:
Nube Negra – 1pt Win
Ciel De Neige – 2pt E/W

Saturday Preview – Altior Aims For 3rd Game Spirit

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Donald McCain Blog – Thoughts on Brother Pat

Donald McCain

The horses continue to run well with Goobinator and Mr McGo both winning during the week. It’s going to be a very quiet weekend with just the one runner being Brother Pat at Uttoxeter where the ground will be very deep. You can read below what I think of his chances on Saturday.

Brother Pat
Track: Uttoxeter 1:58
Jockey: Lorcan Murtagh

He’s a nice horse that ran slightly disappointing on debut at Carlisle. I think he will learn plenty on his hurdling debut and is probably one for handicaps down the line.

Donald McCain Blog – Thoughts on Brother Pat

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Antonio Fresu Interview – Dubai World Cup Carnival

Antonio Fresu has history in the second
round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. The Chilean bred mare Furia Cruzada just
held on to cause an upset in the 2017 renewal, this win was the highlight of
Fresu’s time with former boss Erwan Charpy. The Italian rider is currently
enjoying a stellar season in the UAE and his new link-up with Musabbeh Al
Mheiri has been bearing fruit.

“It has been a great season so far and hopefully it will be
my best one yet in Dubai. Things were going very well with Erwan but once I got
the offer from Musabbeh I really couldn’t say no. He told me that he would be
training more than 60 horses, up from 25 the season before. It’s a very
powerful yard and it’s been a big step in my career.”

Fresu currently sits on 23 winners for the
season, two behind the reigning champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea. It remains to be
seen if Mussabeh Al Mheiri has enough firepower to sustain Fresu’s title

“I hope so, we have a few nice horses who haven’t run yet
and the horses all seem to be in good form. It won’t be easy but we’ll be
trying our best.”

Most of Dubai’s top riders will ply their
trade back in England or Ireland during the summer months, but Fresu’s Italian
roots have taken him home in recent years.

“Last summer I rode 60 winners in Italy including two G3s.
I had a verbal agreement to ride for Diego Romeo’s racing operation Scuderia
Incolinx and that went very well.”

Fresu did make the odd foray over to
England last summer. He partnered Darren Bunyan’s Hit The Bid in the G3 Dubai
International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury in September.

“I rode work on Hit the Bid when he was out at the Dubai Carnival in 2018 but his owners were keen to have Oisin Murphy ride him at the races. Darren called me and told me that he had the horse in great shape and wanted me to ride him at Newbury because I knew him well. He is a tricky horse and ran well in third place but probably isn’t the same horse as he once was.”

Hit The Bid trains on the Meydan Turf Track
Pic: Edward Whitaker

runs in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2
on Thursday. This gelding won the Entisar Stakes in December, beating Dubai
World Cup runner up Gronkowski in the process. It was an amazing performance
for a horse with such inexperience on the dirt surface but he didn’t always
sparkle in his homework.

“To be honest, he didn’t impress me very much at the
beginning as he was very lazy and I felt he probably wasn’t a group horse. Then
we started working him and he proved to be better than everything we worked him
against. He never took a blow after pulling up at the end of his work and not
many horses can do that.”

The good looking son of Dubawi disappointed
on his Meydan debut when 6th in a 1 mile conditions event. But that
effort wasn’t totally without promise.

“I told Nasir Askar (owner) he would run well first time up
but I was sure that he wasn’t a miler. He slipped when jumping from the stalls,
got behind and suffered a lot of kick back. I wasn’t pushing him at all but
when I pulled him out, he changed leads and flew home. I was very impressed by
the way he picked up.”

The bookmakers made him a 50/1 chance for
the Entisar Stakes two weeks later and those odds were probably warranted on
the basis of all known top class dirt form (or lack thereof).

“I wanted to go for the Entisar. It looked like a strong
race on paper but I was sure my horse had improved. He felt like a different
horse in the race and what he did was special.”

The 5yo stalked the pace from stall one,
travelled best before swooping past the teak-tough Saltarin Dubai and the high
class Gronkowski. Fresu and Al Mheiri have a genuine group horse on his hands
but Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 was never really under consideration.

“He had two runs in three weeks, the break will have done him good. He is now a very fresh horse at home and looks to have improved again. I will try to ride a similar waiting race; he is drawn in stall one again and the pace in the race is likely to be very strong.”

Military Law and Antonio Fresu landing the Entisar Stakes in December

of Night
lines up in the G3 UAE 2000 Guineas. The
3yo isn’t everyone’s cup of tea due to his run style, but nobody can argue with
his recent form. Interestingly, this horse was the stable’s second string when
me was a close second on his UAE bow back on December 5th.

“I wasn’t sure who to choose in that race to be honest, I
guess I felt that Dark of Night wasn’t a good horse. He ran bad the first time
I did ride him but I made the mistake of rushing him. He is exactly the same as
Mark Of Approval (a horse Fresu won on earlier in the season), just slow,
that’s him. He jumps well and then just loses ground. No amount of work at the
stalls can fix it. We were hoping that the longer distance in the Al Bastikiya
trial would allow him to lay up with the early pace but no; he couldn’t.”

This gelding by Dark Angel will pick up a
good race sooner rather than later but he does need the leaders to go fast in
order bring his abundant stamina into play.

“The pace will be very strong. Fore Left is very sharp from
the gates and he will go forward, Al Modayar is another drawn wide that will be
up there along with Laser Show. The faster the pace the better chance we have
of picking up the pieces.”

When asked if there was any horse in the
stable that have caught his eye in the mornings, Antonio was generous to put
forward three.

Montakhab is a horse that I used to
like a lot. We ran him over longer trips but I always felt he was a miler.
Tadhg O’Shea rode him last time and he was of the same opinion. He should have
strong claims at Jebel Ali on Friday.”

Casey Jones is very nice horse. He will
need the race on Friday in terms of fitness but should show his true colors on
his next run.”

Team Decision ran on the turf at Meydan
in January but he is a proper dirt horse and I can’t wait to see what he can do
on that surface.”

Antonio Fresu Interview – Dubai World Cup Carnival

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