Wednesday's Notes from Dubai Racing Club
Divine Image: She has drawn post number 6 in the Group 2 UAE Derby sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group. She would become only the second filly to win this race.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, the daughter of Scat Daddy has been victorious in her last two starts at Meydan and produced an impressive performance when she burst clear by 7 1/4 lengths, beating the boys in the Listed Al Bastakiya three weeks ago.
“She is a great finisher. She’s very talented, learning on the job,” Appleby said after her easy win over Superior, who is drawn right next to her in stall 7.
“Divine Image is a filly who has pleased us all winter,” Appleby said. “You can forgive her her first start here as she was very slow from the gates, and you just can’t do that on the surface. She has done nothing but please us since and she has progressed every time we have seen her on the racecourse.”
Gray Magician: “I think it’s a wide-open race. I think he’s as good as any of them," said trainer Peter Miller while addressing the decision to send him here, “I’m pleased with how he looks.”
After being sent out onto the track Tuesday morning under Paco Lopez for a final blow-out of three furlongs, Gray Magician did not make a trackside appearance today. He remained in the stable area, where he was walked along with Miller's other three Saturday entrants. Gray Magician will break from gate 8 under Joel Rosario.
“That’s a good draw for him in the middle of the field. He’s tactical so I’d like to see him get a position, and then hopefully, we’re good enough,” Miller said.
Walking Thunder: With new jockey Frankie Dettori on board, Walking Thunder is considered by many to be the main adversary for Divine Image off of his second-place in the UAE 2000 Guineas. Walking Thunder drew the rail.
Jahbath: It wouldn't be surprising if Walking Thunder is closely track by the William Haggas-trained Jahbath, who is coming out of stall 2. The His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum-owned colt prepared his bid for the UAE Derby in England with two starts on the all-weather racecourses at Kempton and Southwell. He is unbeaten this season.
“He’s very well and the boys are happy with him. He cantered today with a stretch planned for Thursday,” trainer William Haggas said.
Stubbins: This U. S. invader will have to overcome post 12 to get his ticket to the Kentucky Derby, but connections believe he has the speed to make a big impression. Leandro Mora, Doug O’Neill’s assistant, said: “I’m very happy with him. Stubbins needed to see these stalls, which are a lot narrower than the ones we have in the states. So it was important that he went through them. He had a look at them when I first took him there and then everything went smoothly. So I’m really pleased with it. “
Plus Que Parfait: Another American invader, whose name means "more than perfect" in French. He drew post 4. Tommy Molloy, the assistant trainer to Brendan Walsh, said: “He’s feeling great and doing absolutely wonderful since he arrived from South Florida. He’s full of energy, so we’re over the moon.”
“All is good. We kept him back in the barn today because we wanted to give him a quiet day after he had a little blow out yesterday. He'll be back on the track tomorrow. We're very happy with him so far,” Walsh said via text. “He drew post number 4, and I am pleased with that. Very much so.”
Van Beethoven: The Aiden O'Brien camp hopes Van Beethover, who drew post 11, emulates last year’s winner Mendelssohn, who opened up on the field after establishing an early lead. O’Brien said, “On the dirt and up in distance from his last run over a mile at Dundalk, we think Van Beethoven can be competitive.”
Others: Manguzi got the outside14 spot. Golden Jaguar will leave from stall 3, Derma Louvre from stall 5, U. S. invader Gray Magician from stall 8. Fillies Swift Rose from stall 13, Razeena from stall nine and Al Hayette from stall 10.
Notes edited by Dick Downey