Harry Bentley spent Thursday applying the finishing touches to Limato ahead of the $US1million (Dh3.76m) Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on Saturday.
The British jockey, who is on his way to a fourth straight championship in Qatar, returned from the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club where he rode a winner on Wednesday, to partner the main threat to Ertijaal in trackwork at Meydan.
Limato worked over 1000 metres and the dual Group 1 winner quickened up for the final two furlongs.
“It wasn’t much but just enough to sharpen him up,” Bentley said. “He felt really good and is ready for Saturday now — and I can’t wait to ride him.”
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Limato won the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket over 1,200 metres last season and struck again at the top level when stepping up to 1,400 metres in the Prix De La Foret at Chantilly on Arc day in October. He then stepped up further to 1,600 metres in November for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, where he could finish only sixth when using first-time Lasix.
It was a disappointing run, and trainer Henry Candy suggested afterwards it was simply a matter of a long season.
“I think the track will suit him,” Bentley said. “Ertijaal is an obvious contender but the pace they will go will suit Limato. He seems in good spirits.
“He has a little bit of time off, but Mr Candy is happy with him.”
Limato will break from stall 11 in the 12-runner field, but on the other side of the starting gate will be Hong Kong raider Amazing Kids, the mount of Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira.
Amazing Kids is the joint second-highest rated horse in the 1,200-metre race behind Limato and alongside Ertijaal. In contrast to Limato, trainer John Size elected to train his charge on the dirt.
“There is plenty of speed in the race and from gate one we can find a horse to follow,” Size said. “He is good racing down straight tracks.”
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