There are some really interesting comments in today's notes about the Group 2 UAE Derby. Trainer Herman Brown is brutally honest about Sweet Ducky's chances in the race, and Mike de Kock believes the fillies are the best of the lot.
Ahlaain – David Simcock goes for glory with Ahlaain, who is now the likely mount of Christophe Lemaire. The 3-year-old had three starts at the Dubai International Racing Carnival and overcame a slow start to chase home Reem when last seen in the Al Bastakiya.
The son of Bernstein was out on the track under the trainer’s wife Jenny, who said: “David came out to see the horse last week and we have been very pleased with his progress. Being out here has done him good as he was immature, but being in Dubai has helped him to mature and improve. We didn’t intentionally miss the break last time, and we will ride him handier this time to ensure he gets the trip. He worked from the 1200m pole this morning and quickened down the straight and that will pretty much do.”
Alexander Pope, Master of Hounds – The Aidan O'Brien-trained runners arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The earliest the horses can make an appearance on the track will be Thursday morning.
Introvert – Introvert burst clear when upped in trip to win the Meydan Classic. “We made a mistake with this horse. The wrong trip and the wrong surface. Over a 1600 meters he ran much better. Maybe over more distance he will be even better. We have to take a chance with him again on this surface because there is no other race,” said trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni.
Khawlah – Khawlah won the UAE Oaks on her Meydan debut and now takes on the colts. “She won first time in Dubai and beat the good filly Mahbooba. We were not surprised because she is tough and strong. I am really happy with her, and she has a good chance. Maybe the best chance,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Laser Bullet – Laser Bullet put in a routine canter on the All-Weather track under the regular exercise rider Yukio Inagaki. Kiyoshi Hagiwara, the trainer of the 3-year-old colt supervised his horse’s canter and commented, “He seems to adopt the surroundings, which is good. He will be galloping on tomorrow morning. My impression about the surface of All-Weather is that it is softer than our poly track course at home.”
Mahbooba, Reem, Zanzamar – Trainer Mike De Kock has a great record in the UAE Derby and fillies Mahbooba and Reem are joined by Zanzamar in what appears a very strong trio.
De Kock said: "I maintain the fillies are better than the colts this year, and we have two of the best. Mahbooba will appreciate a good gallop but does have to reverse form with Khawlah.
"Reem has been a superstar and is tough. She will run well, while Zanzamar is another who will be wanting a fast pace as stamina is his game."
Mantoba – The Brian Meehan-trained runner arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The earliest the horse can make an appearance on the track will be Thursday morning.
Splash Point – Splash Point won the Group 3 UAE 2,000 Guineas. “He is by Street Cry. I like this horse because whatever happens to him, he always does his best. You can run him from the front and you can run him from the back and he would finish in the same place because all he can give is everything. He is probably not the very highest class, but he is a good horse. He is my second best,” said trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni.
Sweet Ducky – The American campaigner recently purchased by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and transferred to trainer Herman Brown was sent for an 800m blowout on Tuesday morning with his UAE Derby jockey Tom Queally aboard.
Sweet Ducky’s work could not be timed due to a blanket of heavy fog that covered much of Meydan.
“He seems in good shape. We’ll see what happens,” Queally said after jumping off the Pulpit colt and conferring with Brown following the workout.
“The horse worked well and Tom was happy with him—the horse is moving well and is sound,” Brown reported. “He said he seems like a horse that will be better in a race when he can chase horses down.”
While racing in the United States for previous owners George and Lori Hall, Sweet Ducky won three of six starts, with all his wins coming after he set most of the pace. Sweet Ducky has never won at distances further than 1600 meters, and the farthest he has raced has been about 1,700-meter distance of the Grade III Delta Jackpot, in which he was fourth.
South African compatriot Herman Brown saddles Sweet Ducky for the first time and said: "We have only just been sent him, and he seems a lovely, scopey type but it is a big ask of a 3-year-old to fly in and perform to their best. He will be a nice acquisition I am sure, but Saturday will be tough for him."
Utley – The John Gosden-trained runner arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The earliest the horse can make an appearance on the track will be Thursday morning.
Xin Xu Lin – Xin Xu Lin is a multiple Group 1 winner in South America, where he landed the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini – effectively the continent's Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe - at San Isidro in Buenos Aires.
“We already know he is a nice horse, a group one horse. He is doing well and teaching us he is a class horse. He is wide with the draw, but he has Frankie on board and I think he will run a very big race. He is the best chance,” said trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni.