Dubai Nine years ago he claimed the biggest victory of his career when Krypton Factor won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) and now entrepreneurial Bahraini owner/trainer Fawzi Nass yearns for an even bigger prize, the $12 million Dubai World cup (G1) itself.
Among Nass’ small but quality string at the Desert 2 Stables in Dubai, is Salute The Solider, a horse that he believes has the credentials to help him, and Dutch jockey Adrie de Vries, achieve their ultimate dream.
“We are looking forward to it and his season has gone as we had hoped, probably better,” said Nass. “He showed last year he handled the Meydan dirt so that was not an issue but we needed to test his stamina.
“The Godolphin Mile was always an option but he has earned his place in the big race and proved he stays. His work has been good and we are very pleased with him so we just hope for a reasonable draw.”
Saturday’s challenger, who was foaled in Germany and was initially campaigned in Britain by Clive Cox before transferring to Nass’ yard early last year, appears to be peaking at the right time to take a shot at racing history.
During his UK stint, Salute The Solider competed in valuable handicaps at Goodwood and Ascot in 2019 before being bought by Nass’ agent Oliver St Lawrence for 380,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn horses-in-training sale.
The six-year-old Sepoy gelding warmed up for the Dubai World Cup by winning the traditional Super Saturday dress rehearsal, Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G1) having previously won the second leg of the prestigious series on his previous outing.
Twelve months ago Salute The Soldier was being aimed at the Godolphin Mile, at the Dubai World Cup meeting which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now gets his chance to aim even higher.
Should Salute The Soldier realise his destiny, it will be also the crowning glory for veteran Dutch rider De Vries.
“I want to have a winner on the Dubai World Cup day, I have won the Kahayla Classic twice before and I know my chances of winning the Dubai World Cup are very slim, but I want to win a race on that card and not on an Arabian,” said De Vries, 51. “It’s just great to have a horse like Salute The Soldier in the stable with hopes for the big day, it can’t feel any better. I take things year by year. I don’t think I’ll ride until I am 60, but for now I am still enjoying it and as long as I pick up nice rides I plan to keep on riding. I am really enjoying my job every day.”
Salute The Soldier is the 9/2 second favourite on the international markets which are led by Godolphin’s American-bred and trained Mystic Guide (5/2), Pegasus Cup runner-up Jesus’ Team a 6/1 chance together with local hope Military Law.