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The sunrise over the pond in the middle of the training track Thursday morning at Nad al Sheba.
Dubai World Cup Workouts

Date: 03/27/2008

As is the tradition on Dubai World Cup week, racing fans came out to Nad al Sheba Racecourse on Thursday morning for "Breakfast with the Stars". They were treated to breakfast out on the apron as World Cup entrants galloped by on the main track under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Many horses went a lap around the main dirt track, which is a distance of 2200 meters (about 1 3/8 miles). Here is a selection of runners expected to start on Saturday.

Monday workout photos
Tuesday workout photos
Wednesday workout photos
Friday workout photos
2008 Dubai World Cup Entries and Post Position Draw

Please click the smaller photos to see a larger version.

Curlin, heavily favored in the World Cup, walked calmly by the Breakfast with the Stars gathering on Thursday morning under exercise rider Carlos Rosas. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi, aboard stable pony Poncho, accompanied the champion colt. Curlin also went to the starting gate for a schooling session, which he had done every Thursday since arriving in Dubai. Blasi said, "He was perfect. He stood and backed out. We just wanted him to be comfortable."

A. P. Arrow galloped on Thursday morning without any sign of sweating that had marked his first appearances on the track earlier this week. "He's finally settled in," said Ginny De Pasquale, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, who is overseeing the Dubai World Cup entrant's work. "And better now than on Sunday." Exercise rider Eddie King noted that the stylish chestnut "hardly turned a hair."

Lucky Find, who breaks from the 10 hole in the World Cup, was out on the track for some maintenance work on Thursday morning for trainer Mike de Kock.

Better Talk Now, the oldest horse in the Sheema Classic field at age 9, schooled in the paddock on Thursday morning and then galloped on the turf course under exercise rider Fenella O'Flynn. Trainer Graham Motion said, "He's been the horse of a lifetime and he ranks as the second best turf horse in America behind John Henry, so they don't come much better than that. I think he'll be suited to this course as he doesn't like too much give in the ground. As a trainer you are told not to get too emotionally attached to horses but its hard when it's one like him who has been around for so long."

Spring House galloped one lap of the main track in preparation for the Sheema Classic. Trainer Julio Canani, who is scheduled to start a horse on the Dubai World Cup program for the ninth consecutive year, said everything is going smoothly with the six-year-old gelding. "It's good," said the trainer. "He's eating. He didn't get hot this morning. He's happy. He's doing great."

Gower Song, who drew the far outside 16 hole in the Sheema Classic, was out for some light work on Thursday. Local rider Ted Durcan gets the call aboard the son of Singspiel on Saturday night.

Mourilyan went out for a gallop on Thursday morning. Trainer John Oxx said of his Sheema Classic entrant, "He is a quietly progressive and has handicap winning form here but this is a big step up in class, he would prefer easier ground and can be slow from the gates. Those are my worries so I am more hopeful than confident."

Dansant also was out on Thursday in preparation for the Sheema Classic. Owner Barbara Keller said, "He looked fabulous this morning but I don't mind if you don't write anything about him today as long as you writing about him when it matters, Saturday!"

Seachange will fly the colors of New Zealand on Saturday in the Duty Free. The 5-year-old mare is a fan favorite at home but is a longshot here. Traner Ralph Manning said, I don't think she's a 40-1 shot. This would be the first time she's started anywhere near those odds. I'm very happy with her. She's very bright. She never goes a bad race and she won't this time either. She'll be a lot fitter than last time, especially if they let the track dry out a bit. If she gets a faster track, it will make a huge difference."

Locally based Lord Admiral was out for light work on Thursday. Regular rider Mick Kinane gets the call in the Duty Free on Saturday night where he will break from post 15 for trainer Charles O'Brien.

Jay Peg, one of two Herman Brown trainees in the Duty Free, was out on Thursday morning. Brown said, Jay Peg has won a couple of Group 1s in South Africa. His barrier position (post 14) is also not ideal but he looks fantastic right now and is really bouncing."

Niconero went out for a gallop in preparation for Saturday's Duty Free. Fresh off a plane after riding in Australia, jockey Craig Williams is confident about his chances. "This is often the toughest race on the card and this year it's the strongest I've seen it. But my horse is the winner of the first leg of the Asian Mile Challenge (Group 1 Futurity Stakes) which is some of the best form we have in Australia at the moment. This is the second leg, so he has a good chance. All of the other horses are dangers, but I only have to worry about my horse. This will be his third race this season which has always been the plan. He's traveled over well and eaten up well and I hope he can run a good race."

Baharah, the only filly in the Godolphin Mile, was out Thursday morning. New rider Jamie Spencer gets the call aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality, and will break from post 10.

Diamond Stripes was out for a jog Thursday morning as scheduled by Michelle Nevin, assistant to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Nevin said, "He's really enjoyed himself here. He tends to be a little moody, but he's been really pleasant here and he's been galloping really well." Jockey Edgar Prado said he believes Diamond Stripes, a Grade 2 winner who placed in three Grade 1 races last year in the United States, will be very competitive.

Watch What Happens flies the colors of Hong Kong in the Godolphin Mile. Trainer Sean Woods said of his post position, "We're very happy to be drawn in two. He can take a hold and that stall should suit him. This horse ran a very fast time when he won the Pok Oi Cup at Sha Tin two starts back. You can forget his last run when he was way too keen. The big issue is how he draws, and how well he settles but if he does, well, watch what happens!"

Barcola, one of the American entrants in the Godolphin Mile, was out Thursday morning on the main track. Trainer Mark Hennig said of the far outside 15 post, "That's fine, although it's hard to make a lot of comments as I haven't seen the past performances. When you have a big run to the first turn like that it's not such a big deal. He's got plenty of speed to get himself into a decent position."

Halkin, a longshot in the Godolphin Mile, came out for some light work on Thursday. Jockey Wayne Smith, who had not ridden the son of Chester House in almost 2 years, gets the call on Saturday for owner-trainer Fawzi Nass.

Idiot Proof came out to the main track for a gallop on Thursday. Regular rider David Flores will be aboard on Saturday, breaking from post 14 aboard the Martin and Pam Wygod homebred.

Benny the Bull, winner of two straight coming into the Golden Shaheen, was out for some light work Thursday morning. Edgar Prado, who was aboard for both victories, gets the call again this Saturday for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., and will break from post 10.

Barbecue Eddie galloped on the main track on Thursday in preparation for the Golden Shaheen. Regular jockey Aaron Gryder will be aboard on Saturday night for trainer Brian Koriner, breaking from post 2.

Strike The Deal, who was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, was out for a gallop on the main track. New rider Ryan Moore gets the call for trainer Jeremy Noseda in the UAE Derby where he will break from post 11.

Honour Devil, one of two Mike de Kock trainees in the UAE Derby, was out for some light work Thursday. De Kock said, "I don't know who will come out on top but they are both in good form. Honour Devil has proved himself a real fighter whereas Royal Vintage is progressive. That said; they are hopefully both improving."

Royal Vintage, entered in the UAE Derby, was out Thursday morning on the main track. Regular rider Kevin Shea said, "Royal Vintage ran a very good race first time up at the Carnival and then reversed the form second time out in the Al Bastikiya. My stable companion (Honour Devil) is the one I'm concerned about. Obviously I see him every morning as well and both of them are looking great and they will both be good four year olds. We hope that Royal Vintage will turn into a Dubai World Cup horse next year, all being well. 2000 meters on the dirt should suit him very well."

Locally based Brazilian bred Ukrainian was out on the main track in preparation for the UAE Derby. Regular rider Richard Mullen gets the call on Saturday night, breaking from post 6 in the 1 1/8 mile event.

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