The Speed Showdown On Saturday

It's off at 16h45

Some of the fastest horses in the world will clash in the USD$2 million Gr1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (sponsored by Atlantis Dubai) at Meydan on Saturday – it is one of the most exciting races on the Dubai World Cup card.

The 1200-metre dirt contest has been won for the last four years by horses trained in the United States and they send out a formidable team once again.

Dr Schivel – laidback horse

Mark Glatt sends over his Grade 1 winner Dr. Schivel, a notable nose second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November, while Saffie Joseph Jnr is represented by Drain The Clock, winner of the G1 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park in June.

Glatt arrived in Dubai on Wednesday to oversee the final preparations for Dr. Schivel and issued an upbeat bulletin.

“He’s a real laidback horse, he takes everything in his stride,” he said. “I think he’ll be very close in the race as he’s pretty tactical. Depending on what they’re doing on the front end, with the nine hole, Flavien [Prat, jockey] will be able to choose what to do. He will be able to see the majority of the field in the early stages.

“He’s gone wire to wire and also gone from four, five lengths out of it. We trust Flavien; he’s ridden the horse magnificently each time.”

With Joseph opting to stay back in the States, assistant Sarah Shaffer has been training and riding Drain The Clock and reports that everything has gone well with the chestnut’s preparation.

“He had his final piece of work on Sunday and it couldn’t have gone any better,” she said. “Saffie is very particular about the kind of work he wants and we hit it perfectly and I’m so happy with how he feels going over the track.”

Wondrwherecraigis, a first Dubai runner for trainer Brittany Russell, has also shipped here from the States, while Strongconstitution has been based in Dubai for the past three months for California trainer Doug O’Neill.

Strongconstitution, last seen finishing fifth in the G3 Burj Nahaar over a mile, gained a late entry into the race only on Sunday, but O’Neill’s assistant Leandro Mora is grateful for the opportunity.

“We were so thankful for the last-minute invitation and we were able to get a great rider in Christophe Lemaire who we think will fit him really well,” he said.

“Cutting back in distance, we’re hoping the blinkers will help keep him up closer. He has sprinted before in California and ran a good second. He almost threw [rider] Tony [Romero] earlier this week, so he’s fresh and happy which is all we can ask for.”

The UAE last won the Golden Shaheen in 2016 when Muarrab was successful for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri. He is represented by Gr3 Al Shindagha Sprint winner Meraas, who is likely to settle up with the pace early from his draw in eight under jockey Antonio Fresu.

“Beautiful” was the first word extracted from Al Mheiri when asked about his star sprinter’s preparations. “Everything has gone well and we are happy with his draw. This has been a lucky race for us and, inshallah, he will run a big race.”

The home challenge is further bolstered by Gr3 Mahab Al Shimaal winner Eastern World, trained by Ahmad Bin Harmash, who won the course and distance contest on his first sprinting attempt.

“At the start of the season we didn’t think he’d be going for the six-furlong race, that’s for sure,” said jockey Ray Dawson. “But he’s always shown a lot of speed and Ahmad saw something in the horse, added blinkers and he won really well. I don’t think there was any element of fluke to it.”

The international field is completed by 2021 runner-up Red Le Zele, trained in Japan by Takayuki Yasuda, and his compatriot Chain Of Love while Doug Watson runs dual course and distance winner Al Tariq and Everfast, who cuts back in trip.

Manjeer, second to Eastern World last time out, lines up for French trainer Carina Fey, Good Effort represents UAE trainer Ismail Mohammed while Mobaadel flies the Bahrain flag for Fawzi Nass.

  • The Dubai Golden Shaheen is race six, scheduled for 16h45.

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