March 26 Barn Notes
The latest notes from Dubai about prospective starters in the UAE Derby.
There is a provisional field of 14 pending final declarations: Al Hayette, Derma Louvre, Divine Image, Golden Jaguar, Gray Magician, Jahbath, Manguzi, Plus Que Parfait, Razeena, Stubbins, Superior, Swift Rose, Van Beethoven, Walking Thunder.
The provisional race card may be viewed here.
The UAE Derby is race 5 on Saturday's nine-race card, capped off by the Dubai World Cup. Post time for the UAE Derby is 6:05 p.m. local time, or 10:05 a.m. ET.
Derma Louvre: Kentucky Derby hopeful Derma Louvre had his final breeze early Tuesday morning over the dirt track at Meydan. Ridden by his trainer, Hirofumi Toda, he went 800 meters (half-mile) in 57.00, with the last 200 meters clocked at 12.00.
“He has settled into the new surroundings well and is an imposing horse even though he is still just a 3-year-old. I worked him this morning, and my impression was the dirt should suit him, because he was able to move easily over it without issue,” Toda said. “It was a bit dark first thing this morning and there were lots of media around the turns, but he was luckily able to focus on training. I won’t work him too much during the week, as we prepped him well in Japan before arrival. We will just be maintaining his condition and stretching his legs.”
Divine Image: Godolphin’s filly will tackle the boys on Saturday night. The daughter of Scat Daddy heads into the UAE Derby after wins in the UAE Oaks and a stunning 7 1/4-length triumph in the Al Bastakiya. The 3-year-old is set for an outing on the grass at trainer Charlie Appleby’s Marmoom stables tomorrow morning to complete her preparations. On Tuesday, she had a light canter on the Marmoon dirt.
“She came through her last race with flying colours, and she mentally looks as though she is improving with each outing,” Appleby said. “She has done nothing but please us since, and I was delighted with her last start there against the colts. She has come out of that race very well and I am pleased we went back and ran here again. People might have questioned why we would run here back again before the Derby, but after speaking to His Highness we all felt it was the right decision to allow the filly to gain more experience before the big occasion.”
Jahbath: William Haggas is keeping it fairly low-key with His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s colt, who has shown plenty of promise in winning four times in a row on artificial surfaces in the United Kingdom.
“He just had a quiet canter on the dirt and will do so again tomorrow,” Haggas said. “He will have a stretch on Thursday morning with Jim Crowley on top.”
Manguzi: Local hope Manguzi was given an easy canter on the Meydan dirt under the watchful eye of Emirati trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi on Tuesday morning. The son of 2012 Dubai World Cup third-place Planteur is expected to breeze on Thursday before trotting on Friday. Manguzi will partnered by retained jockey Fernando Jara in Saturday’s race, where he will jump from the widest draw of 14 if entries remain intact.
“We think he’s at least doing as well as when he won the Al Bastakiya Trial,” Al Rayhi said. “Unfortunately he has a bad draw, and it could be difficult if he doesn’t jump well as the rest of the field will be racing to the first turn, but he is in good form and we hope for the best.”
Razeena: Perennial leading trainer Doug Watson will saddle the promising maiden filly Razeena for owner Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi. Purchased for $185,000 at the 2018 April Ocala Breeders’ Sale, the bay daughter of Malibu Moon is well regarded by her conditioner.
“I went to the Ocala breeze up and she caught the eye of both Conor Foley (Oracle Bloodstock) and myself. She passed the breeze test and on conformation she's just a gorgeous filly,” Watson said.
After finishing a good second on debut, Razeena finished 11th in the UAE 1000 Guineas but returned to form with a strong third in the Group 3 UAE Oaks won by Divine Image over Swift Rose.
“Her first race she ran well, but a bit green, and finished second,” Watson said. “Next out, she missed it a step, and she doesn't have great gate speed. She has to get into her stride, and she started getting that kickback and ran no race.
“She drew wide in the Oaks which was probably a blessing, but we'd done a lot more gate work in between, because we wanted to make sure we got it right,” Watson continued. “She broke well, travelled great. She traveled 19 meters farther than Divine Image and 25 meters farther than Swift Rose and finished third. To me, she's still learning and getting better.”
Following the UAE Derby, Razeena will ship to the care of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in New York.
“She's still growing. She's still not fully mature, but I think she's going to be a stakes filly in America,” Watson said.
Watson said he is hopeful of a big effort from the filly against the boys in her Meydan swansong.
“If she were to break sharp and get in behind them where she wasn’t getting that kickback right in her face, I think she'd run a big race. She’s done really well since the Oaks,” Watson said. “She stacks up with the boys in my mind, as far as ability goes. As she gets older, she’s only going to get better.”
Stubbins: After cantering on Monday morning, the Doug O’Neill trained Stubbins remained inside the quarantine barn in Dubai on Tuesday morning. Leandro Mora, Doug O’Neill’s assistant, said: “I’m very happy with him. Even though we are in a foreign country, we do the American thing, so he only walked this morning, which is what we would do at home after a horse works.”
Van Beethoven; One year after winning the UAE Derby with Mendelssohn, trainer Aidan O’Brien will seek his second straight victory with Van Beethoven.
“Van Beethoven will come on from his run in the Patton Stakes at Dundalk earlier in the month,” O’Brien said. “Up in distance, we think this race will suit him.”
Walking Thunder: The big news from Ahmad bin Harmash’s desert stable on Tuesday was that Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride Walking Thunder.
Dettori has not tasted victory at the world’s richest single race day since landing a double in 2012, but he remains the meeting’s most successful and busiest rider, with 19 wins from 113 rides. Stable jockey Connor Beasley, the only rider to have been associated with the stable's UAE Derby trio, has opted for Superior, leaving Oisin Murphy to be called up for Golden Jaguar.
Bin Harmash said: “The Emirates Racing Authority conditions book has enabled us to race all three at their best distances and to split them accordingly. It’s good for everyone to be able to find the right opportunity over a short season.”
Edited by Dick Downey