Dubai: Hunter’s Light may well have earned a shot at next month’s $10m Dubai World Cup (G1) following his emphatic victory in Round Two of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G2) at Meydan Racecourse during Thursday night’s high-profile Carnival meeting sponsored by Gulf News.
With the big race just seven weeks away, the Darley-bred son of Dubawi could not have picked a more opportune time to advertise his credentials for the March 30 showpiece with a decisive three-and-a-quarter length victory over Surefer.
There is every reason to believe that he must now rate high on a list that Godolphin will be drawing up for their assault on a race they have won five times since 2000 and most recently last year with Monterosso.
British bookmakers William Hill for one think highly of his performance on Thursday night and have dropped his odds to 11/1 behind the market-lead and Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) heroine Royal Delta, who is a best-priced 6/1 with the firm.
Other Godolphin World Cup probables prominent in the ante-post betting are last year’s champion Monterosso (13/1) and the runner-up Capponi (9/1).
The morning after capturing a ninth Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 trophy, trainer Saeed Bin Surour was not drawn to commit on Godolphin’s plans for the Dubai World Cup, but reiterated: “We’ll first look at Round Three of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G1, March 9) before we make any plans.”
While admitting that he was impressed with the improvement the horse has shown since being campaigned in Europe last season, Bin Surour said the final decision will by taken by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who is the driving force behind the Godolphin operation.
“Seven weeks is a long time in horse racing, things can change in week or even a day,” he said. “We’re in no rush to make decisions, but yes, it’s nice to know that you have a horse like Hunter’s Light to consider for the big races.
“He’s a horse that I have always liked and I think he’ll improve further for his run on Thursday as he has a touch of class. We’ll train him confidently and see how it goes should he run in the final round of the Al Maktoum Challenge on Super Saturday.”
Hunter’s Light, who is from the second crop of Dalham Hall Stud’s premier stallion Dubawi, a son of 2000 Dubai World Cup winner Dubai Millennium, improved his lifetime record to eight wins form 16 starts when earning his fourth Group victory overall.
He ended last season with two strong performances, including a rousing victory in the Premio Roma GBI Racing (G1) at Capannelle, Italy, in November, having previously run second to Cirrus des Aigles in the Qatar Prix Dollar on Arc day at Longchamp, France.
He has also comfortably adopted the mantle worn by previous Godolphin globetrotters by traveling to Turkey last Septemner to capture the Anatolia Trophy by an impressive five lengths on the Tapeta at Veliefendi.