Dubai World Cup notebook: Victor Espinoza has California Chrome-plated shopping bid if they win

Of the 104 horses that are set to line up on World Cup night, the most extraordinary looking is Big Orange, writes Geoffrey Riddle, while Hong Kong sprinter NotListenin’tome looked in fantastic shape at Meydan.

Victor Espinoza has certainly done his bit for charity.

Last year when he won the US Triple Crown aboard American Pharoah, he reportedly followed the lead of trainer Bob Baffert and donated a portion of his Belmont Stakes winnings to the City Of Hope cancer foundation.

The Mexican jockey partners California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup on Saturday night, and should he win the US$6 million (Dh22m) on offer for first place, Espinoza would be in line for around 10 per cent of that.

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On Thursday, it was put to Espinoza what he planned to do with his slice of the money.

“The shopping in Dubai is not cheap,” Espinoza grinned. “And there is a lot of it to do here, too!”

Last year when Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed’s Prince Bishop won the Dubai World Cup, he donated all of his winnings to the Dubai Autism Centre.

BIG ORANGE HAS UNUSUAL LOOK

Of the 104 horses that are set to line up on World Cup night, the most extraordinary looking is Big Orange.

British trainer Michael Bell runs last season’s Goodwood Cup winner in the Dubai Gold Cup, and in November is looking to return to Flemington to run in the Melbourne Cup, which the five-year-old horse finished fifth in last season.

“He’s got these big, floppy ears like a donkey,” Bell said. “And he’s got a neck like a turtle. Had he been sold as a yearling he would not have fetched very much as he is a big, ugly yoke.

“The longer he is around, though, the more affection we have for him. It is nice when geese turn in to swans.”

CONTRAST OF COATS IN AL QUOZ

Hong Kong sprinter NotListenin’tome looked in fantastic shape when he underwent a jump out from the gates at Meydan ahead of his bid to become the third Hong Kong winner of the Al Quoz Sprint.

The highly-regarded sprinter was watched by trainer John Moore.

“He looks terrific,” Moore said. “He has got that golden sheen to him, and that’s when you know he is at his best. We could not get him fitter than he is now and he has been eating up all week.

“He’s in prime condition and will run a big race.”

HONG KONG CAN MOP UP SPRINTS

If first spoils in the sprints do not go to Hong Kong, they are also well represented in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Domineer, Master Kockanwong, Rich Tapestry and last year’s runner-up Super Jockey make for a strong team in the $2m sprint. And the connections of Super Jockey are confident of their chances.

“I rode him leading up to last year’s race when he was beaten by a head by Secret Circle, and I’d say he is at least as well this time around,” said work rider Beverly Millard, wife of the trainer Tony Millard.

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