Dubai: Krypton Factor will take the first step towards the defence of his sprinting crown as the big favourite when he contests the $200,000 (Dh734,000) Al Shindagha Sprint (G3), one of three showpiece races at Thursday’s Dubail World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan Racecourse.
The Bahraini-trained speedball enjoyed a dream season in 2012 when he progressed from the ranks of being a handicapper to blitz a high-quality field in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on Dubai World Cup night.
Now, rated at 123 and carrying the high expectations of his owner-trainer Fawzi Nass, Krypton Factor will hope to advertise his well-being when he faces a maximum field of 13 rivals over 1,200m on the all-weather track, the same distance and surface as the Golden Shaheen.
Nass, who has a string of 11 horses based in Dubai, admits that his stable star faces a huge ask in his bid to replicate his heroics of last term, but is buoyed by the fact that he thrives in Dubai.
“He loves the all-weather track, which brings out the best in him,” the trainer said.
“He’s been working well but might need the run as we are yet to get him into top condition, which we hope will be in time for the Mahab al Shimaal.
“He’s been doing some travelling since he won the Dubai Golden Shaheen, but on both occasions the ground did not suit at Singapore and Ascot, although he ran well in defeat in England.”
With regular rider Kieren Fallon in the saddle, the son of Kyllachy finished sixth in the Krisflyer International Sprint (G1) at Kranji in May, but delivered a huge effort when taking third behind the great Australian sprinter Black Caviar at Royal Ascot in June.
Recalling the progress Krypton Factor made from the handicap ranks to winning on Dubai World Cup night, Nass said earlier in the season: “I think a lot of people were questioning whether he had the class. In a very short span, he went from being a handicapper rated 100 to being a Group 1 winner. He wasn’t the favourite and I don’t think anybody expected him to win in the way he did. He looked the winner around 200m out.”
Among his rivals on Thursday night will be the David Barron-trained Hitchens, who was his conqueror in the Al Shindagah Sprint last season before he gained revenge in the Mahab Al Shimaal.
Krypton Factor, who was trained by Sir Mark Prescott during his two-year career, was acquired by Nass at the 2010 Tattersalls Autumn HIT Sales.
In his first season in Dubai, he hinted at bigger things to come when running third to Godolphin’s Splash Point in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan.