Satish Seemar among trainers to draw inspiration from Dubai World Cup showpiece
Salem bin Ghadayer also hopes for favourable gate, even as draw result may be non-factor given quality of field
In terms of the level of excitement and anxiety it manages to generate every year, Wednesday's Dubai World Cup draw comes second only to the actual race.
Just ask the trainers whose horses have been picked to run in the US$12 million (Dh44m) event on Saturday.
The reason is simple: where the runners are placed in the starting barrier of the 2,000-metre run at the Meydan Racecourse track sometimes has a bearing on where they finish.
It is why Satish Seemar, for instance, is hoping for a gate closest to the inside rail for North America. “Anything from 1 to 6 would be my choice,” he says.
Same with fellow handler Salem bin Ghadayer who is expecting much from Capezzano, one of his three entries.
That is not surprising: North America and Capezzano both love to hug the inside rail and dictate the race from the front. When either of them gets into such a position, it usually becomes difficult for the rivals to overtake them.
Of course, there is no guarantee of that happening in a contest like the Dubai World Cup for which more than half the competitors are from the United States, Japan and South Korea. The competition is of a different class.
Regardless of the outcome of the draw, Seemar is pleased with North America's preparations. He ran over 800m at Zabeel Stables on Monday before being given an easier workout at Meydan on Tuesday.
“He had his workout yesterday, so we just had walked him for 45 minutes this morning,” Seemar said. “All is good with him. He’s eaten up well. We’ll hack him around tomorrow and the same the day after.”
Other horses to flex their muscles at Meydan on Tuesday included such American hot shots as Seeking The Soul, Yoshida, Pavel and Gunnevera.
Dallas Stewart, who took a first look at Seeking The Soul in Dubai since arriving from New Orleans, was happy with what he saw.
“He looks great,” he said of the six-year-old by Perfect Soul. “He shipped in well. He looks like a prize fighter.”
Seeking The Soul has arrived in good form, having placed second to City Of Light in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in January.
“Last year, he exited his fifth-place effort in the same race with an injury that forced him to the sidelined until July,” Stewart pointed out. “He returned to finish among the top three in all but one start — an uncharacteristic 13th in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.
“I just can’t figure out what happened in the Woodward. I thought about it and I thought about it. But, he bounced out of it well. He was second in the Breeders’ Cup and second in the Pegasus, so he has the credentials to be here.
"I think he has a heck of the shot.”
Yoshida brings style and versatility, and will be one of the top World Cup contenders.
The five-year-old son of Heart’s Cry won four of his five career wins on the turf, including a three-quarter-length score in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs last May. He proved equally good on the dirt when winning the Grade 1 Woodward from Gunnevera with Seeking The Soul farther down the field.
“When he won the Grade 1 on the dirt at Saratoga, he showed a tremendous turn-of-foot in the last [400m],” trainer Bill Mott said. “He's a big, hearty horse who gets over the dirt very well.”
Yoshida did a maintenance breeze, or a short sprint, at the Meydan track under exercise rider Penny Gardiner.
“He went an easy three-eighths [or 600m] and it looked like he got over the ground very well,” Mott said. “We're just trying to keep him happy until race day. Most of the serious breezing has been done. When you travel this far, it's important to keep the horse happy.
"We're really pleased with how the horse is doing right now.”
Updated: March 26, 2019 08:02 PM