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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

UAE Derby Notes: Monday, March 26, 2018


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Gold Town – The son of Street Cry was gelded last June and has barely looked back since, winning his last three starts and burning off the opposition to take both the UAE 2000 Guineas trial and the UAE 2000 Guineas itself.

“He has done well for the switch to dirt and he prefers it to grass,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “Gelding him has made a huge difference. He is stepping up in trip from 1600 metres at the weekend and we will see how he gets on.”

Mendelssohn, Threeandfourpence and Seahenge – Trainer Aidan O’Brien: “We go to the UAE Derby with three horses. They all came out of their race at Dundalk well (one-mile Patton Stakes on March 9 won by Mendelssohn), and I’m happy with them. We will learn more about Mendelssohn in Dubai, especially how well he stays, as he is a strong traveller. Threeandfourpence should improve from the run in Dundalk, as should Seahenge who didn’t help himself by being slowly away.”

Rayya – A filly taking on the boys, Rayya boasts a perfect in-the-money record with two wins and two seconds from four career starts, including a convincing last out score in the Group 3 UAE Oaks Sponsored by Al Naboodah Construction Group.

“Rayya worked today and she’s doing really well,” said trainer Doug Watson of the speedy Tiz Wonderful chestnut. “We’ll see where we draw and play it out. I’m not afraid to let her come from off of it.”

Speculation abounded that with a good result on Saturday, the U.S.-bound Rayya could find herself a contender for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, at Churchill Downs from Bob Baffert's barn. Baffert confirmed as much today.

“She gets on a plane and goes back with Bob Baffert as far as I know,” Watson said. “I don’t know what her plans are from there, but she’s flying to California, and it’s going to be a tough schedule from there to fly to Kentucky and go to the Oaks.”

Rayya made her debut a winning one on Dec. 7 at Meydan and has kept a busy dance card since while tussling with Winter Lightning who edged her by a nose in a conditioned event on Jan. 18 and again on Feb. 8 in the UAE One Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Friday.

“It’s going to be a hard race on Saturday, and she still needs to mature. The schedule she’s kept from the time she broke her maiden World Cup night, you wouldn’t see many mares going in (to the Oaks) from halfway around the world with that kind of schedule.”

Reride – One year after Gun Runner finished second in the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will send out the developing Reride. On Monday, the Candy Ride colt worked four furlongs shortly after 5:00 a.m.

“His energy level has been good since we got here,” assistant trainer Scott Blasi said. “We just put an easy half mile in him to let him pick his feet up over the racetrack. I got him in :50 4/5. He felt good coming back to the barn.”

Reride enters the UAE Derby off a  2 1/2-length victory over favorite Runaway Ghost in the Mine That Bird Derby on Feb. 25. Runaway Ghost returned to win the Sunland Derby on Sunday impressively.

“The Sunland Derby winner was who he beat last time, so if he runs his race, he should stack up well here,” Blasi said. “He was pulled away from a horse (Runaway Ghost) that came back and won at a mile and an eighth. He seemed to get better as the race went on, and his stride lengthened late. I would think a mile and three-sixteenths is within his realm.”

Ruggero – Ruggero, one of Japan’s two runners, posted an easy canter over Meydan’s dirt course at 5:00 am.

“He has arrived in good order. Travel didn’t bother him at all. Yesterday he had a light breeze over the straight. He will go to school in the paddock tomorrow and will breeze the day after tomorrow.” said the assistant trainer Hisao Shiina.

Taiki Ferveur – Taiki Ferveur arrived in great condition from Japan and lightly cantered around the dirt track this morning under assistant trainer Kohei Kurokawa as they prepare for Saturday.

“Being only three, we were a little concerned about how he would handle the trip, but he didn’t seem bothered at all. He is doing great. We’ll breeze him on Wednesday I think.” said trainer Mitsunori Makiura.

Yulong Warrior – Forty-eight hours after a deal was sealed to take Yulong Warrior back into his original ownership, the runaway Al Bastakiya winner pleased trainer Satish Seemar when completing his serious preparation for the UAE Derby on Monday morning.

Seemar reported, “He went nice and sharp for Richard Mullen over 800m, and finished strongly. I’m very happy with him.”

Raced originally in Ireland for Chinese businessman Zhang Yieshang, the son of Street Cry was bought by Seemar for £360,000 at a pre-Royal Ascot sale in London last June and his three outings for the Kapoor family resulted in two wins. The second was achieved by 11 1/2 lengths, after which Yieshang’s ownership company Yulong Investments stepped in.

Seemar said: “He’s only a Listed-race winner, now he’s competing with Group horses, but he’s never had the opportunity to take on the very best. His experience is limited and really needs a good break from the draw.”

Edited Emirate Racing notes with additional content by Dick Downey


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