Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Sweet Ducky is expected to race in the silks of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov when he starts in the $2-million UAE Derby (UAE-II) on the Dubai World Cup program March 26 at Meydan.
English-based bloodstock agent Robert Harrison, who began acquiring runners for Kadyrov several years ago after meeting him in Dubai, arranged the acquisition from previous owners George and Lori Hall, according to trainer Herman Brown.
Reached while on a brief holiday in his homeland of South Africa on March 15, Brown said he would take over supervision of Sweet Ducky from former trainer Kelly Breen and would saddle the colt for the UAE Derby.
“I spoke to the previous trainer yesterday and he gave me some background on the horse,” said Brown, who trains Kadyrov’s runners in Dubai. “I’ll see the horse when I get back to Dubai.”
Sweet Ducky was due to depart Florida on a March 15 flight to Dubai along with a dozen other American-based runners pointed to the seven Thoroughbred races on the Dubai World Cup program. The horses were due to arrive in Dubai on the evening of March 16.
Brown said he did not know what the long-range plans would be for Sweet Ducky, a son of Pulpit acquired by the Halls for $135,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. Although a specific price has not been revealed, Breen said the Halls sold the colt for “a lot of money.”
Based on Kadyrov’s past racing goals, there is a chance Sweet Ducky could wind up running in the Russian Derby this summer. Last year, Kadyrov bought Mikhail Glinka, a Galileo colt who won the Queen’s Vase (Eng-III) at Royal Ascot, from the Coolmore group and sent him to run in the Russian Derby. However, another colt owned by Kadyrov, a son of Giant's Causeway named North Stream who was purchased as a yearling at Keeneland for $45,000, wound up winning that race.
Sweet Ducky won two stakes at Monmouth Park last fall and has compiled a career record of three wins from six starts while earning $268,250.
His scheduled run in the UAE Derby will be the toughest of his life to date as he will be asked to compete against older Southern Hemisphere-bred horses, including a three-strong team from the barn of South African trainer Mike de Kock, who sent out last year’s UAE Derby winner Musir and who trained UAE Triple Crown winner Asiatic Boy.
The UAE Derby field also could include Brazilian-bred Xin Xu Lin, winner of four group I races in South America including two Brazilian classic events and the Carlos Pellegrini (Arg-I) in Argentina. The son of Wondertross would be making his first start for Godolphin, which also might start the WinStar Farm-bred Street Cry colt Splash Point, who won the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) last month.
Kadyrov and Brown also are expected to start their $2-million earner Bankable on the World Cup program. Winner of the Mahab al Shimaal (UAE-III) on Super Thursday during the Dubai International Racing Carnival, Bankable finished second in last year’s $5-million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) and is pointed back toward that race.