California Chrome to run 2,000m Meydan handicap to prepare for Dubai World Cup

California Chrome will run in a handicap over 2,000 metres at Meydan on February 25 after connections decided that the 2014 US Horse of the Year needed more time before the Dubai World Cup.
California Chrome will make his second Dubai World Cup appearance in March. Ali Haider / EPA
California Chrome will make his second Dubai World Cup appearance in March. Ali Haider / EPA

California Chrome will run in a handicap over 2,000 metres at Meydan on February 25 after connections decided that the 2014 US Horse of the Year needed more time before the Dubai World Cup.

California Chrome arrived in Dubai to much social media fanfare on Friday and cantered gently over a mile at Meydan on Tuesday, having had a stretch of his legs in the quarantine barn on Monday.

Assistant trainer Alan Sherman is overseeing all of California Chrome’s work in Dubai and has been accompanied by exercise rider Dihigi Gladney, groom Raul Rodriguez and vet Chuck Jenkins.

“I want to run him in the handicap and not on Super Saturday because it gives us another week before the World Cup.” Sherman said.

“The World Cup will be his third race after a long layoff and I just think it suits our schedule better.”

The Dubai Racing Club have amended the entry criteria of dirt handicaps for horses rated 95-108 and 100-113 to 95-118 and 100-123 respectively.

California Chrome will have his first serious workout in around 10 days time to put him spot on for the prep run over the World Cup course and distance ahead of his bid to go one better than last season in the world’s most valuable race.

Curlin was the last American horse to prep in a handicap in Dubai before winning the World Cup when he successfully ran in the 2008 Jaguar Trophy.

Four of the six Dubai World Cup winners at Meydan had run at the UAE’s flagship track previously before they won.

It looks increasingly likely that California Chrome will be joined on March 26 by Japanese raider Maurice, after connections of the outstanding Japanese miler confirmed that the $6m Dubai Turf is very much on the colt’s agenda.

This week Maurice was crowned Japan’s Horse Of The Year.

Maurice won the Yasuda Kinen and the Mile Championship in Japan before he proved himself on the world stage with a commanding victory in the Kong Kong Mile under Ryan Moore, who reported his mount was not even in his best form.

It was thought that trainer Noriyuki Hori preferred a domestic campaign leading up to the Takarazuka Kinen in June, but it appears owner Kazumi Yoshida has steered his trainer in favour of Meydan.

“He is at the Northern Farm in Shigaraki and recovering nicely from his Hong Kong Mile win,” Hori said.

“I can’t say when he will return to my yard and which race is his first one, though it will become clearer next month.

“The Dubai Turf is definitely in our plans though.”

Hori added in an interview with the Racing Post that Duramente, last season’s top three-year-old colt in Japan, could possibly run in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

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Published: January 26, 2016 04:00 AM

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