Seemar said the 5-year-old son of Swiss Yodeler could start once before the Golden Shaheen, probably in the $200,000 Mahab al Shimaal (UAE-gr. III) at 1,200 meters at Nad al Sheba Racecourse on March 1. That race is part of what is dubbed “Super Thursday,” a card featuring the key local prep races for the Dubai World Cup (UAE-gr. I) program events including the Golden Shaheen.
If Thor’s Echo is not quite ready for the Mahab al Shimaal, Seemar said he will proceed directly to the Golden Shaheen, also at 1,200 meters (about six furlongs).
“He looks well but he lost a little muscle tone,” Seemar said of the gelding’s condition following a month of quarantine prior to his shipment to Dubai about three weeks ago. However, Thor’s Echo was given light exercise during his stay in quarantine and has not fallen too far behind in training to compete against the world’s best sprinters in the Golden Shaheen, he said.
Last year, Thor’s Echo finished a strong second in the Golden Shaheen, 1 ¼ lengths behind Proud Tower Too, before being masterfully managed by former trainer Doug O’Neill to win the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) and the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (gr. I). The latter race, on November 25, was Thor’s Echo’s last start.
Afterward, Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum purchased Thor’s Echo for an undisclosed sum from Royce S. Jaime Racing Stable and Suarez Racing Inc. with the Golden Shaheen his primary goal.
Seemar and Sheikh Rashid, the eldest son of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, have set a hot pace for racing in the United Arab Emirates so far this season. They lead all trainers and owners, respectively, by wins.