Dubai: Out of the darkness of the horse walk and into the glare of the floodlight Meydan track came the early birds before 5am.
The Japanese-trained Lani and USA’s Arrogate, a striking pair of greys, both being primed for glory in the Dubai World Cup.
Bob Baffert’s charge, Arrogate is very impressive to see in the flesh.
With them came another US raider, Gunrunner. Trainer Stev Assmussen must be relieved to see his horse actually training for the $10million Dubai World Cup, having missed his last intended gig, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup, while on quarantine lock down in Fairgrounds, New Orleans after an Equine Herpes Virus breakout.
Don’t let that put you off though as he’s had a prep run at Oakland, Arkansas a month ago, a drop in grade and an all the way win in the Razorback Handicap - Grade 3.
He’s a great looking horse who is eye catching in his work.
MindyourBiscuits, Chad Brown’s $2million Dubai Golden Shaheen contender is another exceptional looking racehorse.
The second “set” at 7am made Medan resemble an American training session, and how
good is it to see so many of them here.
Hoppertunity, who runs in the World Cup, is a stalwart of Bob Bafferts barn. He’s a big horse who moves with lightness and grace for one his size. He stood with his rider Dana Barnes for an impromptu photo shoot, the epitome of professionalism.
Keen Ice, another World Cup hopeful, is of interest not solely because he was the only horse to beat America Pharoah but he has changed trainer this year from the redoubtable Dale Romans, whose partner, the diminutive Tamy Fox was always astride his tremendous frame.
Now he is stabled with the genius, Todd Pletcher who may well rekindle this quivering flame whose two attempts against Arrogate have ended with 11 length beatings.
Over on the quieter Training Track Roger Varian’s Postponed went through his usual routine but in my humble opinion not with the verve he possessed last year when he was my “nap” of the night. I hope the team working with him can prove me wrong. Roger Charlton’s Decorated Knight, winner of the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday, is ticking over quietly.