Salem bin Ghadayer well stocked on Dubai World Cup night as Capezzano leads challenge in $12m race

Three entries in the showpiece race, as well as Heavy Metal defending his Godolphin Mile title and Chaddad in the Kahayla Classic ensures a hectic night at Meydan in store for the Emirati trainer

Capezzano, pictured winning the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, spearheads Salem bin Ghadayer's Dubai World Cup challenge. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Capezzano, pictured winning the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, spearheads Salem bin Ghadayer's Dubai World Cup challenge. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Salem bin Ghadayer will be one of the busiest men at Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup night.

The Emirati trainer has three horses entered into the showpiece $12 million race on Saturday as well as entries in the $1.5m Group 2 Godolphin Mile and the $1m Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic - the Arabians showpiece and opener of the nine-race card.

Capezzano, in the silks of Emirati owner Sultan Ali, spearheads Bin Ghadayer’s trio in the Dubai World Cup. The five-year-old is considered third favourite – behind 2018 champion Thunder Snow and North America – thanks to his three successive wins, which includes the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, the Dubai World Cup Trial.

That win was of note as Capezzano left Godolphin’s Thunder Snow trailing behind him by more than nine lengths.

Bin Ghadayer’s other two Dubai World Cup entries are Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Gronkowski and Axelrod, runners-up in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, respectively.

“All three are quality horses,” Bin Ghadayer said. “Capezzano is in the form of his life. He has given us hope after his three impressive victories, particularly the manner in which he won over the 10-furlong Dubai World Cup course and distance.

“He won two races over the mile very convincingly to give us the signal to try him over the extended trip. He was amazing and we hope he can replicate the same form on the big night.”

Gronkowski also raced in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, placing fifth on his Meydan debut only three lengths behind runner-up Thunder Snow.

Axelrod, on his first local start, was a bit out of sorts when finishing 10th on the same night in the Burj Nahar, the Trial for the Godolphin Mile.

“They are both horses with proven abilities and we have seen them improving day-by-day on their workouts,” said Bin Ghadayer. “Gronkowski wasn’t beaten too far from the second, third and fourth horses, and he will come from that run on the big night, hopefully.

“Axelrod is a recent purchase by Phoenix Thoroughbreds from America. He won two Group 3 prizes and ran a good second behind McKinzie in the Pennsylvania Derby.

“There are no guarantees in horse racing but we are hopeful all three to run big on the night.

“It looks a wide open race between the American and local-trained horses. We can only wait and see how the race unfolds on the night. Obviously, I would like to think it will be one of mine.”

Before the headlining race, Bin Ghadayer will hope to see Heavy Metal defend his Godolphin Mile crown after Chaddad runs in the Kahayla Classic.

Heavy Metal missed the break in his last start in the Burj Nahar, the Godolphin Mile Trial, three weeks ago but his handler is confident he can improve on the big night.

“He’s very competitive and was doing his best work towards the end to finish a credible third, and with a trouble-free run, he can go close,” said Bin Ghadayer.

“Chaddad joined our stables this season and has run twice. He didn’t fare too badly in his last start (5th) in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 over the Kahayla course and distance. Hopefully he can improve.”

Updated: March 25, 2019 12:55 PM


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