Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, who recently scooped up American 3-year-old Sweet Ducky to race in the UAE Derby (UAE-II), is working to complete a deal to buy Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) contender Gitano Hernando from Team Valor and Gary Barber.
Winner of the 2009 Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, Gitano Hernando will continue to be trained by Marco Botti through the World Cup, assuming the transaction is completed. However, plans call for the 5-year-old son of Hernando to eventually be transferred to Herman Brown Jr., Kadyrov’s primary conditioner.
While watching Sweet Ducky train at Meydan on March 21, Brown confirmed the purchase was in the final stages and that Gitano Hernando would be joining his stable in the future. Lucia Botti, who has ridden Gitano Hernando in his morning exercise and is the wife of Marco Botti, also said the sale was pending only final arrangements.
Team Valor chief executive officer Barry Irwin said he could not comment.
Kadyrov, who also owns Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) entrant Bankable, reportedly had been trying to secure an American-based horse recently to carry his red and white colors in the Dubai World Cup. However, that prospective deal became problematic when the horse in question was not invited to compete in the $10-million race.
Bred in Britain by Newsells Park Stud, Gitano Hernando was sold as a yearling in Deauville, France, for $53,964. In 13 career starts, he has won six times and placed on three additional occasions while earning $575,787.
Team Valor bought the chestnut early in 2009 following his maiden win on the all-weather track at Wolverhampton in England and originally aimed him at the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). That plan did not come to fruition, but later in his 3-year-old season he won the Goodwood, defeating Colonel John and Richard's Kid , both of whom are multiple grade I winners.
Gitano Hernando finished sixth in last year’s World Cup, but was only two lengths behind winner Gloria de Campeao. In two starts during this year’s Dubai International Racing Carnival, he finished fifth in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round II Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-III) and third in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III (UAE-II) Sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Jockey Johnny Murtagh has been named to ride Gitano Hernando in the World Cup.