Jeff Mullins' Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) hope Choctaw Nation and stable companion My Cousin Matt, whose target is the Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), turned in their final serious pieces of work Monday at Nad Al Sheba in preparation for Saturday's big race card. Choctaw Nation covered six furlongs in 1:13.80 to the delight of the trainer. "Choctaw Nation actually looks a little better than he did (in California). I was surprised. He's got three-eighths of a mile to get going here," said Mullins, clearly hopeful that the six-furlong straight of the track will play to his horse's strengths. Choctaw Nation's win in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) last August was at the expense of 2004 Dubai World Cup winner Pleasantly Perfect and he was a good fourth in the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) in his prep race for Saturday. My Cousin Matt was clocked in :46.40 for the last four furlongs of his six-furlong dash. Meanwhile, Paulo Lobo was clearly delighted with sprint favorite Pico Central, who jogged two circuits of the track, having breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 two days ago when covering the last half-mile in :48.60.
"Everything is perfect," Lobo said on Monday morning. Doug O'Neill's assistant, Leandro Mora, is equally pleased with Whilly's preparation for the Dubai Duty Free: "He's doing very, very good," said MoraRoses In May, the Dale Romans-trained likely favorite in the World Cup, looked in great order when galloped on the track, under floodlights Monday evening. He was also familiarized with the floodlit parade ring and took everything in stride, looking relaxed and alert.He stretched out well down the straight, as did Wesley Ward's Bear Fan who did a good piece of fast work separately in his preparation for the six-furlong Golden Shaheen.