Countdown To Dubai World Cup On Saturday

Save the date - Saturday 30 March

“She’s pretty fresh!” is virtually the first thing William Knight says when talking about his Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint contender, Frost At Dawn.

“Bucking seems to be her new party trick!”

Frost At Dawn aims to give Knight first Gr1 (Pic – DRC)

When they’re good, you can forgive them a bit of ‘sass,’ as Knight puts it.

With five runs in little under four months, culminating in Gr3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint success, Frost At Dawn has proved to be tough as well as good.

Now she goes for Group 1 glory, taking on an international bunch of rivals in the 1200m turf sprint on Dubai World Cup day, 30 March.

Abdulla Al Mansoori’s iron grey filly has been a revelation since travelling to Dubai in late December, something which wasn’t part of Knight’s original plan.

“My thinking was that after she’d won at Chelmsford, I could put her away for the year for a Guineas trial, in the UK. But I felt she’d be better suited to the fast ground, plus she’s Dubai-owned. I also thought because of her American pedigree, by Frosted out of a War Front mare, there was an angle on the dirt, so that’s where we started off in December.

“After her first run, which was very good, my plan was to end up in the Jumeirah Fillies’ Guineas on the turf. But then we went a mile with her on the dirt when they went too fast, all fell in a heap and she didn’t get home, so it was a recovery mission after that. Then she ran well over seven 1400m on the turf and showed a lot of speed.”

It was multiple Group 1-winning jockey Jim Crowley who first planted the idea of the Al Quoz Sprint, after he finished third on Frost At Dawn in the Jumeriah Fillies’ Classic.

“Then we dropped back to 1200m against three-year-olds and she showed a lot of speed and confirmed to us that she’s a six-furlong horse. Jim got off and said: ‘what about the Al Quoz Sprint for her?’ Then we looked to Super Saturday and the only race for her was over 1000m.”

The rest is history; Frost At Dawn and Mickael Barzalona charged along the far rail, beating 14 rivals and breaking the track record.

“Had we not gone to Dubai I probably would have chased the Guineas dream and got to June running her over the wrong trip!” laughs Knight, who is based in Lambourn in the UK. “Now we will train her as a five/six-furlong horse.”

Knight gives plenty of credit to amateur jockey Abbie Pierce, who has looked after Frost At Dawn in Dubai and – so far – managed to sit all the bucks.

“Abbie has done a fantastic job. Frost At Dawn has thrived since she’s been there. When you send a horse abroad, they’ve got to have that constitution and she takes her races very well, eats up clean. She’s matured too – every time I put a saddle on her I think she looks stronger and more like a sprinter.”

Knight has had horses placed in Group 1s before but is yet to win one.

“Sir Busker was third… Checkandchallenge was fourth… we’ve gone well in Group 1s, but to go into one with a real chance is quite exciting,” he says. “Her win on Super Saturday was no fluke and that she broke the track record gives me a bit of confidence. Mickael Barzalona is going to ride her, which is great, as they obviously got on well.

“If you’d said in December that I’ll be running on Dubai World Cup night I’d think ‘don’t be so ridiculous!’”

  • Media release by Dubai Racing Club on Friday, 22 March 2024

 

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