The Breeders' Cup in November and a Dubai World Cup defence may be on the agenda for Mystic Guide, the prolific winner of the silver jubilee edition of the flagship race at Meydan.
The lightly raced colt from Godolphin's American operation started the $12 million contest as the favourite and lived up to top billing by coming home a convincing winner on Saturday.
It was also the first Group 1 success for the Michael Stidham-trained runner under Luis Saez, taking his record to four wins in eight starts, and either second or third in the other four.
“We don’t have any race picked out yet but there will be many opportunities in New York and Saratoga, but hopefully, if he’s doing well the Breeders' Cup at the end of the year,” Stidham said.
“If he’s doing well, we will be very keen, we would love it,” he said when asked if Mystic Guide would return to defend his crown in 12 months' time. “I’ll know the lay of the land a little better next time."
Godolphin's Thunder Snow. trained by Saeed bin Suroor. is the only horse to win the Dubai World Cup twice when he landed the prize in 2018 and 2019. Mystic Guide can emulate that feat for a four-year-old if he stays in good health for the 2022 edition of the race.
“I really thought it was finally my turn to step-up to the big time and I really wanted it to happen,” Stidham said of his first international winner in a career spanning four decades as a trainer.
“Everything we do here is exactly the opposite of what we do in America,” he said of the horse’s lead-up to the big night.
“In America we have a 30-foot walk to the track and back. He’s comfortably back in the stalls in a hour but here it’s almost a hour walking back and forth to the barn.
“It’s totally different and I was concerned about that. It was a little bit too much for him. We schooled him. That was a two-hour process. The next day I gave him a day-off. It worked out.”
Stidham, who trains 18 Godolphin horses, gave Mystic Guide time to develop as a three-year-old by not aiming at races like the Preakness, Belmont and the Derby.
“We always thought he was one step behind from where he needed to be campaigned in those kind of races,” he added.
“We gave him time to let him develop, and we did it, and here we are. The sky is the limit for him."
The victory took Godolphin’s record to nine Dubai World Cups since Dubai Millennium carried the royal blues to their first success in the race in 2000.