Dubai: Dihigi Gladney sits in a position that not many have been in.

As the exercise rider for pre-race favourite California Chrome, Gladney is perhaps one of the few who gets to experience the horse up close and personal.

“He loves that walk from the quarantine to the track. You would think that he would be tired, but he’s all so enthusiastic. He’s looking really good. He is a lot stronger now. He’s progressed and he is a little bit stronger. He’s really travelling really, really good. He loves it here,” Gladney said.

“He gets on to the track and he just enjoys what he does. This is my first time on him. I watched him and to watch him from the ground and to be on him is completely different thing. This horse’s drive is unbelievable. The way he travels, he doesn’t ever get off the ground. He switches his lead so easily. He is just doing his job,” he said.

For a couple of years, trainer Art Sherman used Willie Delgado as his work rider. But from this season the reins have been handed over to Gladney, and the American is enjoying his time. “He’s such a very easy horse to train. He can be aggressive and he can be a smart horse at the same time,” Gladney said.