The latest news from the Group 2 UAE Derby, set for this Saturday. It'll be race 4, set at 6:25 p.m. local time, or 10:25 a.m. ET.
Balada Sale - Balada Sale discovered the track for the first time Monday morning, and her regular work rider said: “We just let her stretch her legs. So we just went for a slow canter. Everything is good.”
Daddy Long Legs / Wrote - The powerful contingent from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O'Brien trainees arrived safely at Meydan on Monday morning from Ireland. The O'Brien horses were all reported to have traveled well, and it is anticipated that they will appear on the track on Wednesday morning.
Genten - The Yoshito Yahagi trainee from Japan did a routine work on the all-weather track. That trainer also has Makani Bisty for the Group 3 Dubai Gold Cup. Yahagi flew into Dubai Monday morning and said, “I felt very relieved to see their good conditions. I think it is hard for horses to keep the best condition when they travel abroad, but they handled the long flight well and have not lost any weight. They are maintaining the same good form as at home.”
Helmet - A three-time group one winner, including the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1,600m) in Melbourne, Australia last spring.
According to trainer Peter Snowden both Sepoy, a sprinter heading for the Dubai Golden Shaheen, and Helmet have spent “as much time as possible’’ on the artificial all-weather surface at Meydan since their arrival in Dubai.
“It’s what they’re going to be racing on, so they’ve got to get used to it,’’ Snowden said. “So far, everything has gone according to plan and they will be having their final piece of fast work Tuesday morning."
Snowden said Helmet had been unfairly maligned for his two defeats during the Melbourne autumn Carnival. “He is usually as quiet as a mouse, but he blew the start in the Australian Guineas at his last start, and first-up he got cluttered up on the inside, which made it very difficult for a horse that likes to free-roll.”
Stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who aboard Helmet on both occasions, arrived in Dubai Monday morning. He will ride Sepoy and Helmet in their separate gallops Tuesday.
Snowden, long time foreman for trainer John Hawkes in Sydney, took over the role as the trainer when His Highness Sheik Mohammed began his Darley Stud operation in Australia about six years ago.
“This is the first time I’ve travelled horses overseas in my own name, and it’s a great honour to have runners for His Highness Sheik Mohammed at the world’s richest racemeeting,” he said.
Sepoy and Helmet will join the Sheikh’s Dubai stables after Saturday and contest races at the Royal Ascot meeting in June. “It’s certainly a lot different to what we’re used to back home ,but we can’t fault the training conditions at Meydan,” Snowden said.
McEvoy has ridden extensively for the Godolphin stable in Dubai and Europe as second jockey to Frankie Dettori and was an obvious choice as stable rider when the Sheik opened his Australian operation. He became the second youngest jockey to win the Melbourne Cup as a 20-year-old on the Mike Moroney-trained Brew in 2000.
Lucky Chappy - Team Valor International ‘s Lucky Chappy galloped on Monday with some very prestigious company. Walking on to Meydan’s all-weather track with Royal Delta, Lucky Chappy stayed close to her for his entire exercise session. With Graham Motion assistant Alice Clapham in the irons, Lucky Chappy galloped behind Royal Delta for approximately a mile and a quarter and was more relaxed than on Sunday. That day, Clapham asked an outrider to accompany Lucky Chappy.
“He is better if he has a little company, so it worked out nicely,” said Clapham. She said Lucky Chappy and Royal Delta have forged a friendship during their stay in Dubai World Cup Quarantine Barn 3. Clapham and Leona Willaford, assistant to Royal Delta’s trainer Bill Mott, also are friends, so they arranged the joint work session and may repeat the duet on Tuesday.
Bred in Ireland, Lucky Chappy won a stakes in Italy last July before being sent to the United States from France. In four subsequent starts, he has finished second twice, third once and fourth once, all in stakes, including a closing fourth in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, won by U.A.E. Derby rival Wrote.
Most recently, Lucky Chappy finished second by a nose in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby. Golden Gate Fields has a Tepata track, the same type of all-weather surface as Meydan. So far, Lucky Chappy seems to like the Meydan track. “He’s getting over this track really easily,” Clapham said. “He’s moving great on this surface.”
Mickdaam – Trainer Mike De Kock’s UAE Derby record is phenomenal. He's saddled the winner on no less than five times; Mickdaam has a shot to make it six. Winner of the Al Bastakiya last time out over the same course and distance.
“Considering he had only won a maiden when he arrived and was rated in the 80's, he has had a great season and has improved from day one," de Kock said. "We knew the step-up in trip for the Al Bastakiya would suit him, and he did it well. It would be nice to think there is more improvement to come, and in reality, he needs to raise his game again as some of his rivals have been contesting good group races throughout their careers.”
Yang Tse Kiang –Trained by Richard Chotard, the 3-year-old gelding came onto the Meydan track for the first time Monday morning. His regular work rider said, “This was his first time out, and we just went round once in a slow canter. We are very happy with him, all is good.”
--Edited Dubai Racing Club release