Fawzi Abdulla Nass' 2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) winner Krypton Factor tops a full field of 14 entrants and three also-eligible contenders in the $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint Sponsored By Jaguar XJ (UAE-III) Feb. 14 at Meydan.
The 1,200-meter (about six-furlong) race is a springboard to the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) undercard on March 30. Krypton Factor denied 2010 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Rocket Man a repeat win in the $5-million race last year after seizing the lead late. Now, he is preparing his defense of his own victory, beginning with the Al Shindagha Sprint.
The 5-year-old Kyllachy gelding finished second by a nose to Hitchens in last year's edition of the race before a convincing 2 1/4-length win in the Golden Shaheen. He has not started since finishing sixth to Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) last June at Royal Ascot. In his only other start after winning the Golden Shaheen, he finished fifth in the Krisflyer International Sprint (Sin-I) last May.
Nass, who also trains the gelding, told Gulf News he knows the odds are against Krypton Factor taking the Golden Shaheen a second time but added that Meydan's all-weather track brings out the best in his runner.
"He's been working well but might need the run as we are yet to get him into top condition, which we hope will be in time for the Mahab al Shimaal (UAE-III, on Super Saturday, March 9)," Nass said.
Krypton Factor won the 2012 Mahab al Shimaal by 2 1/2 lengths from Hitchens before taking the Golden Shaheen.
"He's been doing some traveling since he won the Dubai Golden Shaheen, but on both occasions the ground did not suit at Singapore and Ascot, although he ran well in defeat in England," Nass added.
Laurence O'Kane and Paul Murphy's Hitchens defeated Krypton Factor in last year's Al Shindagha Sprint and returns this year. After Krypton Factor turned the tables in the Mahab al Shimaal, Hitchens finished fourth in the Golden Shaheen.
An 8-year-old Acclamation gelding, trained by David Barron, Hitchens will try to snap a two-race winless skid following his victory in a listed stakes last August at Newmarket. He will try to rebound from an eighth-place finish in a conditions race at Meydan on Jan. 24.
For entries and past performance data, visit amwestentertainment.com.