Dubai: UAE-trained horses have won the $1million Godolphin Mile (Group 2), sponsored by Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, a record 15 times and Meydan course specialist Heavy Metal can add to that impressive record by landing the opening race on Saturday’s glittering Dubai World Cup card.
Racing out of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai’s Fazza Racing Stables, Heavy Metal has been in blistering form this season winning three out of five starts including the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes in February by a margin of 9 3/4 lengths.
He will be the first ever runner for new trainer Sandeep Jadhav and a victory will give the handler a dream start to his career at the Fazza Stables.
A maturing five-year-old by top Australian sprinter Exceed And Excel, Heavy Metal will be ridden for the first time by big race jockey Ryan Moore, who has had the best season of his career winning an incredible 20 Group 1 races.
However, Heavy Metal and Moore are unlikely to have it all their way with this year’s renewal of the Mile looking like its strongest.
“It is both very exciting and nerve wracking,” said Jadhav. “Both are genuine dirt horses with Heavy Metal obviously, on paper at least, our best chance.”
American raider Economic Model, who is trained by Chad Brown, looks a big threat as does the Doug Watson-trained Kimbear, although he has a dreadful draw in Gate No. 10.
Economic Model was purchased privately by Major General Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, following the horse’s victory in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park in Florida in his last start.
“Everything is fine and he’s doing very well ever since we got here. I don’t see any change in him at all,” assistant trainer Guezel Cruz said. “It’s amazing how well he’s handled all of the travel and what we are asking from him. He’s digging into the feed tub every day.
“I think he’s sitting on a big race. Everybody expects that and I hope he runs well.”
Regardless of how he fares in the Godolphin Mile, the horse will remain in Dubai to be transferred to the care of trainer Nicholas Bachalard, the new handler at the Jebel Ali Stables of Shaikh Ahmad.
Champion UAE handler Doug Watson is excited about the prospects of Kimbear, who has run some cracking races at Meydan this season.
“I’m just keeping him fresh and happy. He seems really well in himself,” said Watson. “We’ll just slot in behind the speed and hopefully he comes home. It’s not a great post, but we’ll try to do our best from out there.”
Watson also relies on defending race champion Second Summer, who will be piloted by Sam Hitchcott.
“There’s tons of pace and if he’s going to finish a race off it will be this one,” Watson said. “He’s in good shape. It’s probably the best he’s been all year.”
French great Andre Farbe is represented by Rosa Imperial and Lisa-Jane Graffard, the Godolphin representative, said: “She took a long time to mature. She was ready to run at three and she had little setback, which meant that she couldn’t run and last year she was very progressive. And then she just got a little jarred up at Deauville.”
1 Heavy Metal 2. Economic Model 3. Kimbear.