Krypton Factor preparing for title defense in Golden Shaheen

When Krypton Factor took to the track at Meydan Racecourse at the start of last season, he was a handicapper rated 100

Krypton Factor made remarkable progress over the 2012 Carnival (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)

When Krypton Factor took to the track at Meydan Racecourse at the start of last season, he was a handicapper rated 100. This season he will embark on the defense of his 2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen Crown a Group 1 winner rated 123.

Within the span of just four races last term, the highly progressive gelding worked his way through the ratings to earn a spot in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup day all-weather sprint alongside the likes of the contest's 2012 winner, Rocket Man, and Bob Baffert's The Factor.

"I think a lot of people were questioning whether he had the class," owner-trainer Nass said of his first Group 1 winner. "In a very short span he went from being a handicapper rated 100 to being a Group 1 winner. He wasn't the favorite and I don't think anybody expected him to win in the way he did. He looked the winner around 200 meters out."

This season the handsome bay son of Kyllachy won't get onto the track until the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint rolls around on February 14.

"There isn't really a race for Krypton Factor until February," Nass remarked.

As well as conditioning 11 horses in Dubai, the handler also maintains a 42-strong yard in his native Bahrain and has a small number of horses in training in the UK. Among them is the promising Mujazif, a three-length winner of a nice maiden for Brian Meehan at Newmarket this October.

"I'll be looking at the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint in mid-Febuary and the (Group 3) Mahab Al Shimal on Super Saturday (March 9) for him," Nass explained.

Krypton Factor was the popular success story of the Dubai World Cup Carnival last season. His duels with Hitchens captured the imagination of race fans. Hitchens first beat Nass's charge by a short head in the Al Shindagha Sprint before the fast-improving Krypton Factor turned the tables on David Barron's sprinter in the Mahab Al Shimal.

Then on World Cup day, Krypton Factor, ridden by regular jockey Kieren Fallon, claimed the biggest sprint prize, dashing the hopes of Pat Shaw's defending champion, Rocket Man as well as pre-race favorite, The Factor, to claim the Golden Shaheen.

Now Nass is looking forward to seeing whether his stable star can defend his Golden Shaheen Crown on March 30.

"He went to Singapore and Ascot and encountered soft ground and he'd done some traveling so we didn't see him at his best," Nass stated. "But he loves the all-weather in Dubai and he is back here now. He's doing very well but he's still far away from being ready for his first run, which won't be until later in the season."

However, Nass has plenty to keep him busy until then. He recently purchased Carnival runners Lui Rei, an old Dubai campaigner, and two-year-old Hototo, who finished sixth in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes for former trainer, Kevin Ryan, in October.

"Lui Rei is rated 102 and has run around Meydan a few times," Nass said. "He's not a young horse and we are just hoping that he bounces back to his best form. Hototo is rated 104 and he looks like a consistent youngster that I'm hoping can maintain that same form over here."

With 42 days to go until the Carnival, Nass is set to saddle his first runner of the new season on Friday at Jebel Ali Racecourse. Critical Moment goes to post in a 1,600 meter maiden at the Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum-owned course under jockey Pat Cosgrave.

"He ran in the UAE last year having come over from England rated 100," said Nass, who won't be in attendance at the races on Friday as he also has runners in Bahrain. "He's now rated 88, which hopefully should be nice competitive mark. He stayed here in Dubai over the summer and I'm looking forward to seeing how he comes on."

Also carrying the Nass colors this season will be Forevertheoptimist and Journalistic, who will make their seasonal debuts at Meydan on December 6.

"Forevertheoptimist is in the same boat as Critical Moment," Nass noted. "He came here last year but we could not get him right so he didn't run. He's dropped from a mark of 97 to 91. Journalistic is a maiden who had five attempts in England, coming second once and third twice. I'm hoping that the break has helped him come on since his last run."

Also due to have pre-Carnival runs are Finest Reserve, Shamsheer, Muraweg and Rocks Off.

"I bought them over from Bahrain and they've all run there apart from Finest Reserve," Nass added. "They have good race records and they are just horses that I thought would take to the all-weather."

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