DUBAI // One of India's top trainers, Sadakshara Padmanabhan, is hopeful of heading back to the UAE for the first time since 2007 for the Dubai International Racing Carnival. Padmanabhan bought two horses at the December Tattersalls sale for a Dubai-based Indian owner and hopes they will race at Meydan. "They are nice horses, rated 102 and 100 and we are waiting to see if they will be accepted," said Padmanabhan, who in 2003 was the first India-based trainer to bring horses to compete in Dubai.
Perfect Polly, a double Stakes winner, is a five-year-old mare who was fourth in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in 2007. She was most recently third in the Listed Mercury Stakes in Ireland in October. Padmanabhan hopes she and his second purchase, Allegoria, placed in a Group Three race in Italy and who has also competed at Group One level, will be able to run for him in Dubai. "This year I wanted to bring some horses from England to run for this owner, but in the past I have brought horses that I have trained in India to Dubai," he said.
"It's the exposure to competing at the highest level that has always attracted me to come to Dubai. When we see how our horses perform in Dubai, then we know how far we have come and how far behind we still are." Padmanabhan has won every Indian Classic except the Indian Derby. He has also saddled winners in the Stayers' Cup, Sprinters' Cup and Indian Turf Invitation Cup. It was in 2007 that India celebrated its first Dubai victory when Mystical, trained by Subaiah Ganapathy, won two handicaps at the Carnival.
Since then Dubai has not hosted another Indian-trained runner, but Bangalore-based Padmanabhan predicts an Indian horse will win a Group One on foreign shores in the next few years. "I don't feel that day is far off. Quarantine restrictions can discourage some trainers, but the progress that Indian horses have made in the last half decade is astonishing," he said. "It's a great place to come as an Indian trainer because there are so many Indians living in Dubai and you have great support."