More notes from Dubai about Saturday's UAE Derby.
Balada Sale – “We did a three quarter slow canter, followed by another three quarter canter. All is well.” -- Work rider Christophe Bretez
Burano – The three-year-old was back in routine mode after Monday’s workout, when he covered 1,200 meters on the main track in company with his lead horse, Mehdi. Meydan clockers caught his final 400 meters in 27.3 seconds Tuesday. The son of Dalakhani, trained by Brian Meehan, is reported to be thriving after his last-gasp victory from Entifaadha in the Meydan Classic on turf Feb. 23.
“He has come on from that,” said Meehan’s head lad Stewart Gosnell, who has been in Dubai for the last three months. “We couldn’t be happier with him. He worked very well on Monday, and it was back to a normal canter today.
“We are hoping to be placed, and anything more would be a bonus,” Gosnell said, “The horse feels good. He met some trouble in running when he won here last time and Frankie (Dettori) said he should have won more easily.”
Meehan is due in Dubai on Friday.
Daddy Long Legs / Wrote – The contingent from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O'Brien trainees arrived safely at Meydan on Monday morning from Ireland. The O'Brien horses were all reported to have traveled well, and it is anticipated that they will appear on the track on Wednesday morning.
Patrick Keating, travelling head lad for Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle Stables confirmed "The horses all traveled well, and arrived here in good order, no problems whatsoever. They have all had uninterrupted preparations in Ireland, the weather back home over the winter has been OK. We have a bigger team here this year than in the past, and I'd say they all come here with chances."
Entifaadha - He was beaten by Burano in a bobbing finish when the pair clashed in the 1600 meter Meydan Classic last month. It was the colt’s first run for six months, and Richard Hills, who rode him then, was back aboard Tuesday for a breeze in which Entifaahda quickened smartly down the home stretch.
“He just blew out for the last 500 meters,” said Hills, who rides the colt on Saturday. “He felt great and has come forward a lot from his last run.”
Hills, 49, will retire after Dubai World Cup night on Saturday. He spent the last 15 years as retained jockey to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
As for his prospects aboard Entifaadha in the UAE Derby, the jockey said: “For me, it’s a more competitive race than last year. There is a Breeders’ Cup winner (Wrote) in there, along with two or three others, but you could virtually throw a blanket over the rest of us.”
Genten - The stablemate of the Dubai Gold Cup runner Makani Bisty, Genten worked easily on the all-weather track. Trainer Yoshito Yahagi said, “It will be a tough race for him because the field is strong. He is still green, and this experience must be a good factor for him for the future races.”
Helmet - It will be a new experience for Australian trainer Peter Snowden at the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan on Saturday, seeing his horses Sepoy and Helmet race in the Godolphin blue colours for the first time.
In his time as head trainer for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Snowden has been highly successful racing under the Darley colors, burgundy and white.
“The Boss is the best winner and the best loser I’ve ever seen, and I hope my first runners for him in Dubai can do the (Godolphin) colors proud,” Snowden said.
He is looking on the bright side of Helmet drawing the outside of the 14 runners in the UAE Derby. “At least if he does miss the start as he did at Flemington at his last start, he should be able to keep out of trouble.”
Snowden said Helmet likes the all-weather surface at Meydan. He's been there three weeks. “The all-weather is not as firm as some of the artificial tracks in Australia, and I’ve noticed that some horses tend to labour on it, but Helmet has tended to skim over it.”
Lucky Chappy - With Graham Motion watching by the Meydan rail after flying into Dubai with his family the previous night, Lucky Chappy turned in a strong gallop on Tuesday while following Dubai World Cup contender Royal Delta through approximately 2,200 meters (about 1 3/8 mile).
“He galloped great,” called out Alice Clapham, Motion’s assistant and the rider of Lucky Chappy, as they walked to the trainer following the exercise. “I couldn’t be happier,” Motion said.
While, by the trainer’s own description, the smallish Lucky Chappy is “not an imposing horse,” looks can be deceiving. “There’s not much to him, but he’s a tough little guy,” Motion said.
Although no American-based horse has won the UAE Derby, Motion said this seemed to be a good year to take a chance with a colt like Lucky Chappy, a son of High Chaparral who was previously raced in Europe and does not seem the type to excel in American dirt races such as the Kentucky Derby.
However, he has raced well, finishing second by a nose in a Grade III race, on the same type of all-weather surface as at Meydan, and he has trained over that type of track at Motion’s base at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
Motion said he may send Lucky Chappy out for a brief turn of speed on Wednesday, depending partly on what trainer Bill Mott plans for Royal Delta. Mott’s assistant Leana Willaford has said he also is contemplating a short blowout for the filly.
Lucky Chappy and Royal Delta have been working together because the colt, who is used to European-style training, performs better when he is following another horse. In turn, the filly does not like to leave the barn area unless she follows another horse, so Lucky Chappy takes the lead at that time. “It’s worked out well for both of them,” Motion said.
Red Duke – Another of the British runners to have arrived on Monday. John Quinn’s Hard Spun colt could make his first track appearance on Thursday.
John Quinn said "He arrived from Heathrow at 7.30 Monday night, and he travelled and ate and drank well. I'm impressed with what I've seen of Meydan so far. We'll have a look at the track tomorrow, and he'll probably go out on the all-weather on Thursday. Tom Queally will have a sit on him."
Yang Tse Kiang - The Richard Chotard-trained Yang Tse Kiang came to the track with his compatriot Balada Sale in tow. Yang Tse Kiang was ridden by regular work rider Julian Guyot, who said: “I did a slow canter over 1,400 meters, and he is in great form. I’m very happy with him.”